Ferretless in California
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Ferretless in California

My Story By: Ilona Maggard The middle of November 1995 a friend of ours had a ferret wander into his house and make himself at home. Our friend did not know how to care for the ferret and so he brought it to us. We had two ferrets at the time, Lami and Sid Vicious. We named the stray ferret Snuggles and because I thought that if any of our ferrets ever got out, we would really be upset and try anything to get them back, I decided to put a Found Ad in the newspaper. The ad read: "Found exotic animal. Call to identify (209) 449-0204." This was the DUMBEST thing I ever did. Two weeks later, the Sunday after Thanksgiving the Fish Fuzz came knocking on my door. There were three game wardens and two police officers, well and a police dog. Although, my ferrets met them at the door (they wanted to play), the wardens and police officers proceeded to search our house. First they escorted me out of the house (I was the only one home), caged the ferrets, let me back into the house and then they searched the house. They went through everything, kitchen cabinets, dresser drawers, filing cabinets, opened sealed boxes (as if I would hide a ferret in a box where he could not breathe!)and searched all the kids rooms. The were looking for picture albums, any kind of paperwork that showed proof of ownership and my vets name and address. The police officers were only there to observe and I don't think that they agreed with what was being done. When they got around to the outside, the game warden in charge, Cindy Adkins (a really vicious women) wanted to break into our motorhome because I did not have the keys to it. The one police officer stopped her from doing that and told her that she could look through the windows and see that there was nothing in it. While they were searching I asked the police officer what they were going to do with my ferrets and he suggested that I be real nice to Ms. Adkins because she had the say-so over what was going to happen to the ferrets and she could have them put to sleep. This women even ran the license plates on my truck to see if it was stolen. I had just bought the vehicle a couple of weeks ago and the car dealer had not submitted his paperwork to DMV and I had to prove to her with the contract that I really bought the truck because DMV did not show it registered in my name. What a *****. After she read me my rights, I asked her if she was arresting me and she replied "No." Then she wanted to know if I would answer her questions and I refused. When I asked her what was going to happen to my babies, she said that she had the choice of either putting them to sleep or sending them to Nevada to a rescue mission. She had not decided yet. I told her that I would move out of state to keep my ferrets, and she coldly told me that when I had moved out of state, I could just buy new ones. I HAD LAMI AND SID FOR 6 YEARS. There is no way I would buy new ones. I also told her that the third one, Snuggles was a stray but I guess she already knew that from the ad. They packed up everything, ferrets, bills and rental contracts and before she left she said that she would call me with further instructions. I really could not afford an attorney and when she did not call me after three days, I called her to find out what was going to happen to Lami, Sid and Snuggles, I could have not cared less about what they were going to do with me. She told me that seeing that I would not answer her questions and cooperate, she was going to recommend that the ferrets be put to sleep. I was hysterical and answered all her questions but she still would not confirm that they would be kept alive. This is when I found out about the CDFA. I called senators, assembly men and they gave me Jeanne Carley's phone number. Jeanne told me that they had no right to put the ferrets to sleep and that I as a California resident I had every right to send the ferrets out of state to the person of my choice. Of course, Ms Adkins, the game warden did not agree. That is when I finally contacted my attorney and he agreed to let me make $50.00 payments a month if he represented me. He never even heard of a ferret and he educated himself on the internet. I told him that if I was going to be charged with possession of three ferrets then I wanted all three ferrets send to my dad in Texas. He agreed and went to court. Ms. Adkins still insisted in court that it would be wrong to let me send the ferrets to Texas, because she just knew that I would bring the ferrets back into California after a while, but the judge agreed to let me send them to my dad. Meanwhile my attorney (he is such a nice guy) tried to get me visitation rights, but Ms. Adkins said that this could not be done, she could not reveal the halfway house that they were staying at. And the judge suggested that we just send them to Texas as soon as possible. The real trial was being postponed to January. This all took about four weeks and when I had contacted Ms. Adkins supervisor he had assured me that I could see my ferrets before they were shipped off. I set everything up for December 22, 1995 (I did not want my ferrets to spend Christmas with strangers) and when we took the plane tickets to Dept. of Fish and Game, Ms. Adkins said that we could not see our ferrets. When I asked for the supervisor I was informed that he was on vacation and so was everybody in charge. We still went to the airport that morning to the freight part and talked to the guy behind the counter who agreed to let us see the ferrets as soon as Ms Adkins brought them in. Well, it was a good plan but the ***** took the carrier through passenger service and had it put directly onto the plane, she was making sure that we did not get to see them. I got to work two hours late and I was hysterical, I could not stop crying the whole day, I was worthless until I talked to my dad that night and he told me that all three were in good condition just one of them had gotten a little air sick. They have been with my dad ever since and so far we only have been able to visit them once. It's way to expensive. When we went to court in January, my attorney got so ticked off at the judge because he wanted about three thousand dollars fine that he postponed the whole thing till February and he waived his fee because he said the whole thing was just a kangaroo court and it was ********. In February we had a different judge and the total fine came out to $1,350.00. A $500.00 forced donation to the Fish Fuzz and $850.00 for reimbursement to the Fish Fuzz for their investigation. (Gee, I thought that as a taxpayer I had already paid for all their salaries!) But my attorney said that this was probably the cheapest we could get and we took it. We are also on probation for two years in which the Fish Fuzz can come into our house at anytime without a search warrant or cause. After the two years if we behave, the whole thing will drop off our record. I guess it would have been cheaper to be caught with drugs in Fresno County because first time drug offenders only get community service. I tried to contact the Fresno Bee, our local paper, but they were not interested in the story. At this time I just wish I could move out of state and get my ferrets back, because it certainly doesn't look like California is ever going to make ferrets legal. Ilona, Ferretless in California

For the continuation of this story click here: RIP Lami

Email: ferretls@pacbell.net


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