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ha_FERRETS.JPGNov. 6 wasn't a great day for California ferret lovers.

Two candidates supportive of legalizing ownership of the animals, including one who told the leader of the movement his wife wanted a ferret as a pet, lost in the general election balloting, leaving the informal lobby behind the cause to once again start its annual "Hunt for a Ferret Legislative Sponsor."

Despite having "no known supporters" in the new Legislature, Founder Pat Wright found a reason for hope in the election results.

"There was one person elected who had some ferret knowledge," he wrote to supporters in a newsletter this week. "Brian Maienschein was elected in the 77th Assembly district and met Alice Kaiser and her ferrets."

Wright called on his fellow ferret lovers, who have been working for years to persuade legislators and the Fish and Game Commission to allow ownership of the animals, to create a committee tasked with calling and visiting the newly elected San Diego Republican to seek his support.

Those efforts, however, could be in vain. Maienschein's campaign manager says the assemblyman elect has no recollection of interacting with the pets belonging to Kaiser, who Wright said had to move to Arizona after former Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger vetoed legislation related to the animals in 2004.

"Brian has not ever met a ferret and he will not be sponsoring legislation to legalize ferret ownership," campaign manager Lance Witmondt said.

Still, Wright wants to rally supporters to storm the Capitol in January and meet with staff in every office until someone agrees to carry their bill.

"We have 120 targets," he wrote. "Who's interested - please contact me!"

PHOTO CREDIT: A ferret plays in a plastic toy in early January 2011 at the home of an owner who did not want to be identified. Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.


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