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Upcoming Reconstructive Surgery Puts Victim And Ferrets In Spotlight

The victim of a decades-old mauling by a ferret is rejoicing at anticipated reconstructive surgery, while ferret enthusiasts express concern about the possible bad press for ferrets.

By The SmallAnimalChannel News Division
Posted: October 15, 2009, 5:30 p.m. EDT

Michelle Bowers, a 24-year-old living in Nevada, will have reconstructive surgery as part of the television show Dr. 90210 to help correct some scars from an attack by the family ferret when she was an infant, the Nevada Appeal newspaper reported on Oct. 14, 2009.

As Bowers awaits her surgery with eager anticipation, some ferret enthusiasts worry about how the press coverage will affect the reputation of ferrets as pets.

"My worst fear is that [the media] will not point out that other pets have a worse rate for serious injury, or that parents need to watch any type of pet near a young child,” said Sukie Crandall, a longtime ferret owner from New Jersey, who posted her fears on the Ferret Mailing List and cited an article in a 1991 issue of the FDA Veterinarian, which states that the serious bite injury rate by ferrets is small compared to injuries by dogs (12 per year for ferrets versus 44,000 per year for dogs). Injury rates by ferrets are more similar to those of rabbits, Crandall said.

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Reader Comments
To Dory, Matawan, NJ

I COMPLETELY AGRESS WITH YOU! And yes, we should be thanking her for her story. Even though ferret attacks are more rare than dogs attacks, it's still happening. And let's be honest, dogs are bigger, and they have bigger teeth than ferrets so people think that dogs would be more dangersous. But dogs can't squeeze under doors and climb up into a crip like a ferret could. If the ferret had been a dog, it more than likely would not have gotten into the girl's crib. She would have been safe from the dog in her crib. And any animal has the potential to harm a person. But that's where a parent's judgement needs to come in. Reguardless what animal you have, and reguardless what temperment that animal may have, as a parent to a new born infant you need to be extremely cautious about everything!

I don't think that this girl is trying to shed a negative light on ferrets. She's educating people of the real possibilities that could happen if you are not careful! There's a bad apple in every barrel and just because someone points one out doesn't mean they're saying all the others are bad too. It's perfectly ok to have pets and children. You just have to be smart. And who cares whether or not it's fair that ferret lover's can't have a ferret until their child is a certain age. You can't drink alcohol until a certain age. You can't smoke cigarettes until a certain age. You can't drive a car until a certain age. and hold off on buying a ferret until the LAW says it's ok to. If it's illegal to have a ferret when you have a small child, then it's illegal to have a ferret when you have a small child. Deal with it. That's life. Things happen but life goes on. People can always get pets after their children are old enough to run away from it or defend themselves if it ever tries to hurt them.

And here's another thing to think about. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OUR KIDS HERE! Get your priorities straight!
Amanda, Fort Hood, TX
Posted: 12/18/2009 12:21:38 PM
I love animals, but any pet I had whether cat, dog, ferret, etc. that harmed my child in any way would die. I would not give a that the ferret didn't know what it was doing, it would die.
Ashleigh, Houston, TX
Posted: 12/16/2009 6:11:36 PM
I believe the reason for this story is not to downplay the seriousness of her injuries but to point out that the problem here was not owning a ferret, but the parents lack of attentiveness to the situation and overall lack of responsibility. This girl has successfully lobbied against people who have infants owning ferrets. Think of how unfair that is to the responsible ferret owner who also has an infant. Like the article says, dogs are responsible for many more attacks but there are no laws against owning them.
Jade, New brunswick, NJ
Posted: 12/14/2009 1:59:18 PM
Does anyone know how Michelle's surgery turned out? I have a son who was seriously injured in a car wreck five years ago and is still undergoing reconstructive surgeries. I'm still looking for a miracle worker.
Connie, vienna, WV
Posted: 12/10/2009 12:55:01 PM
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