We thought Sunday's MetroSW cene contained the last word for a time on the proposed outlawing of ferrets as household pets in the District of Columbia. But mail received over the weekend brings word that, in a totally unnoticed action, the D.C. City Council has voted to make selling or giving them away illegal in the city.

Enacted both as emergency and as permanent legislation, the bill already has gone into effect. Under its terms, "no person shall import into the District, display, offer for sale, trade, barter, exchange, or adoption, or give as a household pet any live fox, raccoon, skunk or ferret."

The measure was proposed by the D.C. Medical Society as an antirabies measure, and its language was worked out between the mayor's office and council member Betty Ann Kane (D-At Large).

If, as a District resident, you already own a ferret, a close reading of the bill's language will assure you that keeping it is legal--as long as you don't display etc. etc. the animal or try to sell it.

An aide to Kane said the measure is chiefly aimed at pet shops.

In case you've missed this column's three recent prior items on the subject, a ferret is a small weasel-like animal that some owners describe as cute and friendly.