Southern Brooklyn

Sheepshead Resident Ariel Jasper Leads Fight To Legalize Ferret Ownership

Ariel Jasper is leading the fight to legalize ferret ownership. (Photo by Vanessa Ogle)

by Vanessa Ogle

There are dog people. There are cat people. And, now, there are ferret people.

For the first time since 1999, New York City is considering reversing a ban on ferret ownership in all five boroughs. Though ownership is legal throughout the rest of the state, former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani enacted a citywide ban, which the Bloomberg administration defended.

But that hasn’t stopped residents from secretly owning ferrets.

So Sheepshead Bay resident Ariel Jasper, 23, was excited when Mayor Bill de Blasio took office. De Blasio, who seeks to ban horse drawn carriages from city streets, has already earned a reputation from animal rights activists as a more compassionate mayor for animal rights than his predecessors.

“Growing up, I had an interest in ferrets,” Jasper told Sheepshead Bites. “They were adorable.”

She’d been eager to stop the ban but didn’t feel that the Bloomberg administration would have been receptive. In early January, after de Blasio took office, she launched a petition that now has more than 380 supporters. Now Jasper, a master’s student at Brooklyn College, is the frontlines activist to overturn the ban and credited with prompting the change at City Hall.

On Tuesday, officials from the Health Department confirmed they would support lifting the ban.

Ferrets, though commonly misidentified as rodents, are actually part of the weasel family. They have a lifespan of between five and nine years and they have the same bite incident as a cat or dog.

“We allow very powerful dogs in our society,” Jasper said. “I don’t understand the double standards.”

Jasper feels that with ferrets—like all animals—it comes down to responsible pet ownership.

“You never leave any child unsupervised with any animal,” she said.

Her only concern about the legalization of ferrets revolves around impulsive pet store customers.

“Ferrets have an initial cuteness,” she said, but adds that they shouldn’t be purchased on a whim. “They need space and they require special care. They are not cage animals.”

Legalization could take place anytime between June and December. And when it does, Jasper plans on owning a ferret.

“Once everything’s legal,” she said.

Comment policy


  1. Ferrets reek and stink to high heaven, especially if you don’t bathe them often but they are friggin adorable little creatures.

    An X of mine owned ferrets and I loved playing with them. YAY for legalization!

  2. Ariel Jasper here. I want to thank Sheepshead Bites for putting together such a nice article! I also want to thank any of you who choose to support us. If anyone has any questions concerning the ban please let me know, I’ll gladly answer them to the best of my ability.

  3. Actually the opposite is true. The more you bathe a ferret, the more natural oils are released and the more they smell. If an owner feeds them a high quality food and keeps the cage bedding/litter clean, there is no more smell than with any other animal. I live in Indiana and have owned as many as 10 ferrets at one time and guests to my home did not even know that I had ferrets, unless I told them. 🙂

  4. […] Two Bedrooms in Sheepshead Bay Price: $1,900 Location: East 17th Street between Avenue U and Avenue V Description: With zoomed in shots of the bathroom sink and unusually low shots of the rooms, this realtor is either really into details or hiding the truth. Well we’re here to reveal the truth and tell you that this apartment has a dishwasher and dogs and cats are allowed. But you can’t have a ferret. But that’s not the realtor’s fault, it’s Giuliani’s. […]

Comments are closed.