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ASPCA Welcomes California Law Banning Bear and Bobcat Hounding

Gov. Brown signs bill prohibiting the cruel use of dogs in hunting bears, bobcats
September 27, 2012

NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commended California legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown for enacting Senate Bill 1221 to prohibit the cruel and unsporting practice of "hounding" bears and bobcats. Sponsored by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the new law bans the use of packs of dogs to chase and kill wildlife for trophy hunting. California now joins the more than 30 states that do not permit the inhumane and unnecessary practice of hounding.

"Today Governor Brown has ended a blatant and needless form of animal cruelty," said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. "We commend him for signing Senator Ted Lieu's bill into law and for adding California to the list of states where hounding is no longer allowed. Enactment of this law illustrates that when citizens are opposed to a cruel practice, their elected officials will listen and take action on their behalf." 

Hounding involves fitting dogs with radio devices that allow the bear or 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 at close range.

In addition to the fatally wounded bears and bobcats, the hunting dogs are frequently injured, 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 that are no longer wanted by their owners.

"Even in states where hunting is still a popular practice, hounding has long been banned," added Perry. "California is viewed as a leader in animal welfare and a ban on this disgraceful practice was long overdue."

For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.