Sen.Ted W. Lieu introduces bill to end unsporting and inhumane practice using packs of dogs to pursue bears and bobcats

March 22, 2012
03-22-12 BearInTree.jpg

Measure seeks to end inhumane, unsporting ‘hounding’
SACRAMENTO – Under legislation introduced by Sen. Ted W. Lieu of Torrance, bear and bobcat houndsmen would no longer be able to use dogs to pursue their prey in California, a practice which animal welfare advocates and hunters alike agree is inhumane, unsporting and unfair.
“California has a long history of protecting its resources and protecting animal welfare,” Lieu said about Senate Bill 1221, which is coauthored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. “The continued use of hound hunting runs counter, however, to California’s reputation as a humane state. Hound hunting of bears is illegal in two-thirds of the United States; the time has come for California to abolish this inhumane and unnecessary practice.”

Hound hunters use packs of dogs, often equipped with radio collars, to chase bobcats and bears to exhaustion. In their attempt to escape, the bear or bobcat often takes refuge in a tree, allowing a hunter to simply track the dogs’ radio collar signal, take aim and shoot the animal.  In addition, the dogs used for this type of hunting are sometimes treated inhumanely, some abandoned in the field, and others suffer abuse from neglect. Other wildlife are often harassed, disturbed or physically harmed during hounding pursuits as well.

“Hound hunting of bears is cruel and unsporting, and it’s at odds with the values of the vast majority of Californians,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “It was the abuses associated with hunting of hounds that prompted California voters in 1990 to outlaw all trophy hunting of mountain lions. The same ethical issues are at work with bear and bobcat hunting. We are very grateful to Senator Ted Lieu for introducing this legislation.”

Sponsored by The Humane Society of The United States, SB 1221 would expressly prohibit the use of dogs to pursue any bear or bobcat. The bill would not affect the use of dogs by bird hunters. Many other major bear-hunting states, including Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Washington, do not permit hounding.

SB 1221 is awaiting assignment to a policy-review committee, which is expected to occur within the next month.
For more, visit Lieu’s Web site at the address below.
Ted W. Lieu chairs the Senate Labor Committee and represents nearly 1 million residents of Senate District 28, which includes the cities of Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach and Torrance, as well as portions of Long Beach, Los Angeles and San Pedro. For more, visit

Ray Sotero
Communications Director
Sen. Ted Lieu, Senate District 28
Capitol Building, Room 4090
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4028 office; (916) 834-1128 cell