Ferret LawsWould you like to buy a ferret? They are cute, very playful and gaining popularity in the US. However, did you know that owning a ferret could be illegal?

Check Out The Ferret Laws Before The Purchase

Countries such as New Zealand and certain parts of Australia prohibits pet ferret ownership, and it is no exception in the United States. If you are thinking about getting the furry ball, please make sure you check the relevant ferret laws to avoid disappointment.

Ferret Laws Are Confusing!

Since pet legality is governed by cities in the United States, the numerous exceptions can create total confusion to aspiring ferret owners, and no one seems to have taken the daunting task of listing the various ferret laws by state.
In this website I attempt to summarize the most basic information on ferret laws by state for anyone who is thinking about owning a pet ferret. Please read the "important note" at the end of this page.

Ferret Ownership Allowed and Never Been Prohibited (36 states)

  1. Alabama
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Colorado
  5. Connecticut
  6. Delaware - Vaccination against rabies is required
  7. Florida
  8. Illinois - Permit required to breed ferrets
  9. Indiana
  10. Idaho
  11. Iowa
  12. Kansas
  13. Louisiana
  14. Maine
  15. Maryland
  16. Minnesota
  17. Mississippi
  18. Missouri
  19. Nebraska
  20. Nevada
  21. New Mexico
  22. Montana
  23. North Carolina
  24. North Dakota
  25. Ohio
  26. Oklahoma
  27. Oregon
  28. South Carolina
  29. South Dakota
  30. Tennessee
  31. Texas*
  32. Virginia
  33. Washington
  34. Wisconsin - illegal to use ferrets for hunting. Also, an import permit from the state department of agriculture is required to bring on into the state.
  35. West Virginia
  36. Wyoming

* You may have read some (old) information that pet ferrets are not allowed in Dallas. The change of law in 2005 has legalized ferret ownership but vaccination is required.

Ferret Ownership: Prohibited Before But Are Now Legal (8 states)

  1. Alaska – allowed since 1985
  2. Pennsylvania – 1987
  3. Vermont – 1989
  4. Georgia – 1991. A permit is required to breed ferrets.
  5. New Hampshire – 1993
  6. Utah – 1993
  7. Michigan – 1994
  8. Massachusetts – 1995

Ferret Ownership: Legal With Permit Requirement (4 states)

  • Kentucky
  • New Jersey
  • New York (except for New York City, see below)
  • Rhode Island

Still Illegal (2 states and more)

The following states/territory argue that ferrets are wild animals and potential carriers of the rabies virus. There are also concerns of uncontrolled breeding in the wild and the resulting damage to natural habitats.


  • California – under Fish and Game Code Section 2118 and the California Code of Regulations. Californian ferret lovers have been fighting to legalize ferret for the last 15 years.
  • Hawaii
  • Puerto Rico


  • New York City's 5 borough (but it is legal to own ferrets in Long Island)
  • Washington DC
  • Most military bases

Important Note:

Laws do change, so please check with your city ordinance's latest ferret laws just to be safe. You can get the information by calling any of the following:

  • You local Wildlife Department or Fish and Game Department
  • Local chapter of the Humane Society
  • Veterinarians in your area
If you are ready, please come back and check out my other article on the best Ferrets diet for your new friend. See you!

* Photograph of Polecat Ferret, courtesy of law_keven @ flickr