NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) applauds California legislators for passing Senate Bill 1221 to ban the cruel and unsporting practice of "hounding" bears and bobcats, and urges Gov. Jerry Brown to swiftly sign the bill into law. Sponsored by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the state Senate passed the bill on a 22-13 concurrence vote yesterday, approving amendments to enable wildlife research, nuisance wildlife control, and unintentional wildlife and dog encounters on private property.
"Hounding is not fair sport, it is blatant animal cruelty," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "Although SB 1221 faced strong opposition from the hound hunting lobby, California legislators listened to their constituents and have once again demonstrated their commitment to passing laws to prevent the suffering of animals. We encourage Governor Brown to sign this important measure into law."
Hounding involves fitting dogs with radio devices that allow bear and bobcat hunters to monitor the dogs' movements remotely. Dogs are released to chase a frightened wild animal for miles until the animal is exhausted and typically seeks refuge in a tree. At that point, the hunter approaches the cornered animal and shoots the bear or bobcat down from a limb.
In addition to the fatally injured bears and bobcats, the dogs suffer, too. In the course of defending themselves, bears have inflicted fatal injuries to dogs. Often times, when a dog becomes injured or is perceived as being too timid or slow, the dog is abandoned and left to starve to death. Due to this type of hunting, animal shelters are often inundated with abandoned or injured hunting dogs who are no longer wanted by their owners.
"California should lead the nation in animal welfare, but the barbaric practice of hound hunting is out-of-step with citizens' strong desire for humane laws," added Perry. "More than 30 states have already banned this practice, including states where hunting is still a popular practice, and California should join the growing list by enacting SB 1221."
For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.