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Doo Dah For Ferrets!

The Doo Dah Parade began in 1976 as a spoof of the Pasadena Rose Parade.

By Marylou Zarbock

Walking the 1-mile parade route took about 50 minutes, due to numerous stops along the way.
Photo By Russ Case

“Are ferrets illegal in California?” Unfortunately, the answer to this commonly asked question is still, “Yes.”  Every other state, except Hawaii, allows ferret ownership. However, ferret products abound at pet stores in California and veterinarians can freely treat ferrets. It’s understandable that people get confused about whether ferret ownership is legal or not.

People in the ferret community and readers of this magazine know about the ferret’s outlaw status, but reaching the public with this information can be a challenge. Six years ago a unique solution to this challenge was conceived by members of Ferrets Anonymous, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting California’s awareness of the domestic ferret. The solution? To march in the Pasadena Doo Dah Parade. According to Claudia T., president of Ferrets Anonymous (FA), the parade is a way to “let people know that ferrets are illegal and we want them legal.”

The Doo Dah Parade began in 1976 as a spoof of the Pasadena Rose Parade. Doo Dah History

Spurning commercialism and the mainstream, the parade is a forum for anyone with a cause, opinion or desire to be seen. For the price of $10 per adult, a parade entrant can march the approximately 1-mile route and be seen by thousands of people.

“There are always more than 100 groups in the parade, and we’ve been on the
news and been in the paper three out of six times,” said Claudia. “One of the reasons we keep doing it is because it makes a little difference.” 

Doo Dah History
Learn more about the Doo Dah Parade. Click Here>>

The audience in the street, brief moments on TV and sometimes newspaper coverage get the message out. FA’s appearance the first year earned them a front-page photo on the Pasadena Star-News newspaper. Since then, they’ve also been mentioned in the Los Angeles Times and received numerous mentions in TV coverage.

“It’s fun to go home and turn on the TV to get a glimpse [of the FA group],” said Claudia “We were on channels 7 and 4 this year (ABC and NBC). Channel 7 actually spoke about ferrets being illegal and mentioned that Ferrets Anonymous was ‘an old favorite being back.’”

Every year the turnout for marchers is between 30 to 35. The goal is to get at least 15 paid adults. Children who come can march for free. So far, up to 20 adults have marched in one appearance.

Photo By Russ Case

“It would be nice to some year march in the parade and say ‘We’re legal now’ or at least, ‘We’ll be legal in January,’” said Claudia. The way the law works, any new law would go into effect in January. If ferrets ever do get legalized in California, Claudia envisions doing a final march as a farewell.
Logistical difficulties were ironed out after the first parade appearance. Claudia and her team now park their cars at the end of the route and hike to the start. That way, all signs, costumes and the floats can be loaded up immediately after the parade. The first year, they had to hunt for a shopping cart to transport costumes and signs back to the cars at the start of the parade route.

For more information on Ferrets Anonymous or the Doo Dah Parade, visit: or

Posted: April 2, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

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