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PACIFIC SUN: Supes to hunters: chase the cat yourself, tough guys!
June 15, 2012
By Jason Walsh
Quivering hunters shouldn't be allowed to hide behind their puppy pals anymore, says the Marin County Board of Supervisors in a letter and resolution its considering adopting and sending to state Assemblyman Jared Huffman.
The County would be submitting the materials in official support of Senate Bill 1221, legislation which would ban "hounding," the controversial practice of allowing packs of radio-collared hunting dogs to chase bears and bobcats to the point of exhaustion, at which point the frightened animal is either torn apart by the blood-thirsty dogs or climbs a tree where the human hunter then blows it away at point blank range.
Authored by state Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the bill would "prohibit a person from permitting a dog to pursue a bear or bobcat at any time" except when being done for law enforcement purposes by federal, state or local officers.
SB 1221 was passed by the Senate earlier this spring and is currently in committee in the Assembly.
The Assembly bumped its committee hearing for the bill from June 12 to June 26, the deadline for it to pass committee—a move which "concerns" the board. "We urge you to pass this bill out of committee on that day as written, without amendments," say the Supervisors.
Written at the request of Supervisor Kate Sears, the letter says, "Those who are working hard to defeat this bill do not represent the sentiments of California's general population who have consistently signaled their concern for the humane treatment of all animals by voting twice to outlaw mountain lion hunting, to stop the use of cruel wildlife traps and poisons, and by voting overwhelmingly in support of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty ballot initiative in 2008. Marin County voters have led the way on these issues."
Adds the Supes: "Hounding is an unacceptable practice that most states with significant bear hunting activity have already banned because it is cruel to both the prey animal and the dogs and because it violates the principle of 'fair chase.'"
Hounding of bears is illegal in 14 other bear-hunting states; bobcat hounding is banned in 13 states. According to the Board's resolution, a 2011 poll by Mason-Dixon Polling shows that over 80 percent of Californians oppose hounding.
The California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, a vocal hunting lobby, is opposed to the bill on the grounds that its passage would begin a slippery slope of legislation aimed at banning hunting dogs from ripping to shreds any number of other creatures, great and small.