Ferret Welfare 1997!
1. Second day of C.L.A. Game Fair. Teenage lad approached BFW. Has a ferret - doesn't want her any more as she has problems - can he swap her for one of our animals?
Explained this is not on. Suggest he contact a couple of ferret welfares in his area as they may be able to take on the unwanted jill.
Third day of C.L.A. Same lad returns - this time with working box. Heart sinks - I know what is in there. We ask to see the jill - poor little albino - total cataract one eye, the other eye cloudy. Very thin with bad patches on skin and very wobbly.
Of course we take her in. Find spare cage put in clean bedding, supply food and water. Feel angry.
Later that morning helpers down on racing stand receive visit from same lad - demanding a ferret. Fortunately two of the helpers manage to get through to him that we would not let him have a ferret - especially having seen the unwanted jill. Without resorting to physical violence our helpers get him to leave.
2. Tuesday following Game Fair. Phone call from woman in Milton Keynes. She and her husband saw this marvellous T.V. vet programme recently where this wonderful man describes what an ideal pet a ferret is. You get them very young, they never bite, and it is wonderful. Sadly they believe this rubbish, read an American book and husband builds cage. New toy for grandson.
They apparently came to the Game Fair with sole purpose of buying a ferret. Surpised when neither stand will supply an animal. Go home disappointed.
Following day, Monday, they go to petshop and buy a ferret kit plus ferret food.
Tuesday she rings me - kit has bitten grandson and grandparents and they are all terrified, they want to get rid.
On return from picking up our ferrets which were boarded out while the Game Fair was on, Mike asked to go to M.K. to pick up vicious animal. On arrival finds bonny albino hob - no hassle. Brought home, put in cage which came with him - no biting - hungry for meat - ten weeks old.
Wednesday. Kit encouraged to play with older hob. All O.K. except very active older hob finds kit too much even for him.
Thursday. Introduce kit - now called "K.P." (he is a bit of a nut) to youngsters - Digger and Co.
Friday - kit now living with the mob of 9 and full of energy. A bit of bullying by the older ones, but he holds his own.
Saturday - he is one of the gang. Eating well, still full of energy and seemingly very happy. Climbs up to sit with me for a few minutes - no biting at all.
The ideal pet recommended on T.V. lasted less then 24 hours. How many others are there out there - they won't all be so lucky.
Ferret Welfare - we must do something now or we are letting down these marvellous animals.
Incidentally - unwanted albino jill now playing with our older hob who found the kit too much. Our vet has given her a complete examination - no major problems - cataracts probably congenital. Blind in second eye.
3. Just when you thought things could get no worse phone call from woman in Luton. Another animal welfare had given out number and said we would help!
Six unwanted kits about 14 weeks old. Costing a fortune to feed - do something.
Explain there is no space. Offer two other numbers and point out there are so many unwanted kits she may have to ask vet to destroy them. No reaction.
Ask how many ferrets kept. Answer "2 jills". Ask why she bred them - answer "you have to breed the jills or they die". My response was not very polite but I am sick at the thought of those kits - hopefully one of the other may help.
How long is this going to go on?
Mary Neale, Bedford Ferret Welfare.