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SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS EDITORIAL: California should ban hunting with packs of dogs to run down bears
June 13, 2012
A small contingent of hunters is passionate about using packs of dogs to chase down black bears and bobcats in the wilds of Northern California. They say it's only PETA-loving liberals who loathe hunting with hounds. But a 2011 poll found that 83 percent of Californians oppose the cruel practice -- including more than 75 percent of Republicans.
California's Legislature should join 13 other states -- including hunting-friendly Oregon, Washington, Wyoming and Montana -- in banning the use of packs of dogs to hunt wildlife. It should pass state Sen. Ted Lieu's SB1221.
Hunters argue that a pack of dogs allows for a quick death once a bear or bobcat is treed, since hunters usually can make a close-range, one-shot clean kill. But imagine the pain and terror animals experience while being chased through the mountains by a pack of dogs. And sometimes bears and dogs decide to fight it out on their own, a brutal confrontation that leaves dogs as bloodied as the bear.
California is home to 23,000 to 39,000 black bears. They present little danger to humans. Black bears have never killed even one person in the state's long history. Using packs of dogs to run them down is barbaric. California should join the PETA-loving lawmakers in that ol' softie Dick Cheney's home state of Wyoming and stop it.