Capitol Alert

Could 2015 be the year of the ferret?

A ferret plays in a plastic toy at the home of an owner who did not want to be identified.
A ferret plays in a plastic toy at the home of an owner who did not want to be identified. hamezcua@sacbee.com

With dozens of new lawmakers at the Capitol, might 2015 mark the dawn of a new era for California ferrets?

So hopes Pat Wright, founder of LegalizeFerrets.org, who has pushed for decades to lift a 1933 prohibition on the slinky pets.

While advocates came close to their goal in 2004, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill authored by Democratic Sen. Dede Alpert of San Diego, momentum has since stalled. In recent years, Wright has been unable to find a legislator sympathetic to the cause.

“I swear there’s a form letter: How to reject ferret people,” he said.

But all of the turnover in recent elections encourages Wright, who sees a “paradigm shift” that could finally end California’s ferret ban, one of only two in the United States.

He’ll launch the lobbying effort with a New Year’s Day rally in Huntington Beach, in the district of new Assemblyman Matthew Harper, whom Wright hopes will carry the bill.

If ferret legalization doesn’t happen this year, however, Wright is unlikely to pursue legislation again.

“You can only hit your head on the wall so many times,” he said. The only other option would be a ballot initiative, Wright added, and “that would be quite farfetched.”

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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