Clovis Animal Control officers are trying to ferret out the facts.
Until then, a foot-long, 1-pound ferret will just have to stay at the shelter until her true owner can be identified among five contenders.
“Snowball,” as she’s called by CAC staff, was found Monday by April Macias in her dog pen at her house near Hillcrest Park Zoo. The ferret was scheduled to go up for adoption on Thursday.
But Supervisor Louisa Maestas said more than half a dozen people have claimed the ferret as their own after a story on the ferret ran in Tuesday’s CNJ.
One man called and said his dog and ferret were great friends before his ferret ran away. Maestas let the man bring the dog in to visit but the two only sniffed and went their separate ways.
One woman claimed the ferret but said she lost the receipt and documentation of her purchase from a local pet shop.
A third person came in with a photo of a ferret on a cell phone, but Maestas said it was too hard to tell if the animals were the same.
Ferrets usually sell for more than $100, she said, and people may be attracted to the low adoption fee of $30 or are just enamored by the thought of owning a ferret.
The list of possible owners has been narrowed to five, but “none of these people have actual proof,” Maestas said.
The dilemma is a first for the shelter, whose workers usually have the opposite problem — lost animals that go unclaimed and have to be destroyed.
Maestas said the shelter has seen competition for an adoptable animal, and one man even camped for the night so he could be first in line for a pair of miniature dachshunds.
But Maestas said she doesn’t recall so many people claiming to own an animal.
Officials aren’t yet sure what to do, said Lt. Jim Schoeffel of the Clovis Police Department, which oversees the shelter.
“We’re hoping that the rightful owner can provide some kind of credible proof,” he said.