UPDATE: Senate Bill 1221 passed the California Senate by a 22-15 vote May 21. The bill will now move to the Assembly for further discussion.
UPDATE: On April 24, the California Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water voted 5 to 3 to advance Senate Bill 1221—legislation which would prohibit the inhumane and unsporting practices of bear and bobcat hounding. Nearly 200 humane advocates attended the hearing to show their support for the legislation and their efforts helped pass the bill out of committee. Now we need your help to support this legislation going forward.
California voters have expressed their views against mountain lion hunting in two statewide ballot measures in 1990 and 1996. While mountain lions are protected from the cruelty of hound hunting, other predators are not. California does not currently prohibit hound hunting of black bear and bobcats — that could soon change. State Senator Ted Lieu has introduced Senate Bill 1221 which bans hound hunting of bears and bobcats in the state.
Hounding is an inhumane and unsporting practice where trophy hunters use packs of radio-collared dogs to chase down bears and bobcats before the hunter shoots the terrified animal off a tree branch. It also leads to dog welfare problems and a drain on animal sheltering resources.
TAKE ACTION The bill cleared an important hurdle on April 24, when it passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee thanks to the efforts of our supporters. Now the California State Assembly is considering the bill and your assembly member is a key vote on this important issue. Please make a brief, polite phone call to your state assembly member asking for support for Senate Bill 1221 to ban the inhumane and unsporting practice of bear and bobcat hounding. Look up your legislators’ phone numbers.
After you make your calls, click here to take action and send a brief, polite follow up to your state senator. Elected officials receive a lot of email. Please be sure to edit your message so it stands out.
Fourteen states—including Montana, Colorado, Washington, Pennsylvania and Oregon—allow bear hunting but prohibit hounding. Montana’s wildlife management officials consider prohibiting hounding a feature of the state’s “fair chase” principles.
Dogs can be struck by vehicles, die from dehydration or as a result of violent confrontations with wildlife, and many are abandoned, which puts a strain on local animal shelters.
Bears are very poor distance runners and may tire and be overtaken by the dog pack. In bobcat hounding, the bobcat may stop and attempt to confront the dog pack leading to possible injury and death from the conflict for both the dogs and bobcat.
S.B. 1221 is co-authored by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-6, Sens. Mark Leno, D-3, and Leland Yee, D-8, and Assemblymembers Toni Atkins, D-76, Bob Blumenfield, D-40, Mike Eng, D-49, Paul Fong, D-22, Anthony Portantino, D-44, Jose Solorio, D-69, and Das Williams, D-35.
Senate Members voting in favor of S.B. 1221 were Elaine Alquist, D-13, Ron Calderon, D-30, Ellen Corbett, D-10, Kevin De Leon, D-22, Mark DeSaulnier, D-7, Bill Emmerson, R-37, Loni Hancock, D-9, Ed Hernandez, D-24, Christine Kehoe, D-39, Mark Leno, D-3, Ted Lieu, D-28, Carol Liu, D – 21, Alan Lowenthal, D-27, Gloria Negrete McLeod, D-32, Alex Padilla, D-20, Fran Pavley, D-23, Curren Price, D-26, Joe Simitian, D-11, Darrell Steinberg, D-6, Tony Strickland, R-19, Juan Vargas, D-40, and Leland Yee, D-8.
Senate Members voting against S.B. 1221 were Joel Anderson, R-36, Tom Berryhill, R-14, Sam Blakeslee, R-15, Anthony Cannella, R-12, Bob Dutton, R-31, Noreen Evans, D-2, Jean Fuller, R-18, Ted Gaines, R-1, Bob Huff, R-29, Doug LaMalfa, R-4, Michael Rubio, D-16, Mimi Walters, R-33, Lois Wolk, D-5, Roderick Wright, D-25, and Mark Wyland, R-38.
Senate Members absent or not voting were Lou Correa, D-34, Tom Harman, R-35, and Sharon Runner, R-17.
Thousands of Californians including wildlife advocates, ranchers, hunters and landowners have written or called in support of S.B. 1221, as have dozens of animal protection, wildlife rehabilitation and animal sheltering organizations including The HSUS, Sierra Club California, ASPCA, State Humane Association of California, the Bear League, and Wildcare.