Gov. Jerry Brown outlaws using dogs to hunt bears, bobcats in California
Hunters in California will no longer be allowed to use dogs to hunt bears and bobcats under legislation signed Wednesday by Gov. Jerry Brown in response to complaints the practice is cruel and unsporting.
Brown approved the ban, which takes effect Jan. 1, after heavy lobbying by groups including the Humane Society of the United States and a coalition of celebrities including Doris Day, Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Maher.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), who noted that hunting bears with hounds has previously been outlawed in 14 states, including Arkansas, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, Oregon and Wyoming.
``There is nothing sporting in shooting an exhausted bear clinging to a tree limb or a cornered bobcat,'' Lieu said Wednesday.
Lieu introduced the bill in the aftermath of controversy involving Daniel W. Richards, the former president of the state Fish and Game Commission, who killed a mountain lion in Idaho even though the animals are protected from sports hunting in California. Richards refused calls by Lieu and others to resign over the dog-guided hunt, arguing it is legal to kill mountain lions in Idaho.
The legislation drew large crowds of hunters to the Capitol while it was being considered by lawmakers. They accused Lieu of seeking revenge against Richards, and said the bill infringed on their rights as sportsmen to use a safe method of hunting.
``The passage of this bill certainly reinforces why Californians hold their elected leadership in such low regard as the governor and legislature dedicate so much of their time on such unnecessary measures as SB1221 while our state continues to suffer from record levels of crime, unemployment, and foreclosure,’’ said Josh Brones, president of California Houndsmen for Conservation.”
-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento
Photo: Josh Brones heads down a grassy trail near Cache Creek in Yolo County with his dogs. They're trained to track the scent of a bear or bobcat for miles. Credit: Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times