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Senate environmental panel OKs end to unsporting practice of packs of dogs pursuing bears, bobcats
April 23, 2012
Sen. Ted W. Lieu measure would end inhumane ‘hounding’
SACRAMENTO – A key environmental-policy committee today approved an animal-protection bill by Sen. Ted W. Lieu of Torrance that would ban hunters from using packs of dogs to pursue bears and bobcats.
“California has a long history of protecting its resources and protecting animal welfare,” Lieu said about Senate Bill 1221 after passage by the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee. “The practice of hound hunting often leads to them being injured, lost or killed and their continued use runs counters 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 and co-authored by Senate President Darrell Steinberg, 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 Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, do not permit hounding.
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 www.senate.ca.gov/lieu
PHOTO CAPTION: Sen. Ted W. Lieu, center, makes listens to supporters of his Senate Bill 1221, which would ban hunters from using packs of bears to pursue bears and bobcats. In the background is an enlarged photo depicting a chained hunting hound. (Photo by Lorie Shelley).