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California Law Bans Hunting Hounds

California Law Bans Hunting Hounds

Beginning Jan. 1 it became illegal to use packs of dogs to chase, corner, and ultimately shoot down bears and bobcats in California. Backers of the law say it’s not only unfair to the hunted animals but also potentially dangerous and borderline abusive to the dogs.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1221 into law in September, banning the use of hounds to hunt bears and bobcats, the Huffington Post reported. The practice involves unleashing packs of trained dogs to track down, chase, and tree bears. Once cornered, hunters can then shoot the animals.

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Seventeen states still permit the use of dogs to hunt bears, while 15 ban hunting hounds. In the remaining 18 states, it is illegal to hunt bears at all. In California, bear hunting season was closed early when the allotted number of licensed kills — 1,700 — was reached. Preliminary data puts the number of those kills tracked by dogs at less than half.

It is a sport with a long, robust history, and hunting enthusiasts argue that the new ban impedes on a legacy of tradition. They claim they much prefer the chase aspect of the hunt, and that bears and bobcats are often released.

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The Humane Society of the United States believes otherwise, and supporters of the bill maintain that it is intended to protect not only California’s bear and bobcat populations, but the hunting dogs as well. Using a pack of dogs to run down another animal can be seen as unfair, and once a bear or bobcat is in a tree, it’s not a shot a hunter is likely to miss. What’s more, in confrontations between dogs and game, dogs are often mauled or thoroughly exhausted by the hunt. When it comes to hound hunting, it seems that all animals involved face unnecessary risk and abuse.

The sport is similar to English fox hunting, which was banned in different parts of the United Kingdom starting in 2002.

Do you agree with the ban? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

Source: The Huffington Post

Photo: Pack of hounds waiting for the hunt by Shutterstock

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This post was written by Liz Acosta, regular contributor to Dogster Magazine.

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105 comments

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3:26AM PDT on Jul 5, 2013

thank you for sharing 5/7

6:34AM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

good! now if everyone else would follow suit!

12:30PM PDT on Apr 2, 2013

It is the right thing to do. An dog who is used for hunting to these extremes has such a prey drive that they become very difficult to rehome. Brave California!

12:08PM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

don't stop there ban it everywhere.

12:01PM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

Ban all animals hunting, horse racing, dog/bull fighting etc...if people like to be so violent, they should fight hand on hand with another violent person, that's a true fair game and they can enjoy the violent game with physical experience!!! Leave the poor and helpless loyal animals alone!!!

9:24PM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Can we just ban hunting? PERIOD????

9:07AM PST on Feb 24, 2013

Great!!! But i'd like to see this same ban all across each state and in other countries as well.

12:32PM PST on Feb 21, 2013

I definitely agree with this ban. It is pure evil to pit one animal against another. If these people enjoy "bloodsport" so much, why don't they buy an island and hunt each other? Leave the poor animals alone.

10:58PM PST on Feb 3, 2013

thanks for sharing

2:26AM PST on Feb 1, 2013

Well done California. Just because something is tradition, doesn't mean it's right or that it should continue. I use to work for a hunt club and instead of chasing a fox, we set a scent trail (which invariably ended at the pub). Horses and riders had exercise in the fresh air and no-one was hurt.

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