Hundreds of animal lovers and hunters packed the Capitol on Tuesday to testify about a bill seeking to ban the use of dogs to hunt bears and bobcats in California, legislation that arose after a top state fish and game official drew heat for killing a mountain lion during a legal hound-hunting trip in Idaho.
The crowd overflowed two committee rooms and filled the building’s two cafeterias before SB1221 by Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu passed its first committee test on a 5-3 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Supporters say hound hunters use packs of dogs, often equipped with radio collars, to chase wild animals until they tire and run up a tree. The dogs used for this type of hunting are sometimes mistreated, they say.
“It’s described as mild,” Lieu, of Torrance, said before the committee voted. “This is not mild. You’ve got running dogs chasing a bear and-or bobcat. It’s not mild because sometimes the bear fights back and kills the dogs or injures them. It’s not mild because sometimes the dogs will tear apart the bobcat. And it’s not mild because the bear runs and runs and runs until the bear is exhausted and climbs up a tree and the hunter goes and shoots the bear.”