A controversial bill that would ban dogs from being used to hunt bobcats and bears in California made it out of one Assembly committee today on its second try, but still faces fierce opposition from the California Houndsmen for Conservation.
About 200 opponents gathered at the Capitol today to urge members of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee to vote against Senate Bill 1221 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance. It passed 8-4, and now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee
Hounds have treed a black bear
Josh Brones, president of the houndsmen group, noted that the bill also allows the Department of Fish and Game to kill dogs who are in pursuit of a bear or bobcat.
Laurie Jones, a member of the Humane Society, said she supported the bill because it protected dogs, bobcats and bears from being treated poorly. "It doesn't keep (hunters) from killing the bears, it just doesn't allow them to use the hounds, to use them in which way is seen as in an inhumane way," Jones said.
The houndsmen carried bright orange signs that read "HSUS is killing our wildlife one bill at a time. Vote no on SB 1221." And sported pins that said "revenge is not the answer. Vote no on SB 1221."
Many supporters of the bill, like Jones, have argued that the use of hounds in hunting is unfair and takes the sport out of it. Brones disagrees."It is anything but unfair," he said. "It does not rely on technology of any kind. It relies on the training you gave the dog."
hound that has treed a black bear
If the bill becomes law, Brones said he and an estimated 3,000 people would move out of California in order to preserve their way of life.
The bill failed to make it through the committee last week but was reconsidered today. Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, did not previously vote, but voted in favor of the bill today. Assemblyman Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, who was not present for the previous vote, also voted in favor of the bill.