Successful Ban on the Use of Hunting Dogs in California!
A while back, I did a post on the proposed ban against hunting with dogs in California. At the time, the bill had passed with a 22-15 vote and was later sent to the state assembly. More recently (Wednesday September 26t)h) Governor Jerry Brown finalized the last piece of the puzzle by signing the controversial legislation to ban the use of dogs when hunting bobcats and bears in state of California which is set to take effect January 1st.
This bill came about after State senator Ted Lieu, D-Torrance saw a photo of a Daniel W. Richards, California Fish and Game Commissioner President, holding up a dead mountain lion with a victorious grin. (You can see the photos here and here). That prized kill was shot with the help of his hound dogs which happens to be a legal practice in the state of Idaho.
Hunting mountain lions in the state of California has been illegal for decades now. After the pictures surfaced there was severe media backlash. Seven months later Mr. Richards was forced to resign his presidency on the account that he showed ”poor judgment in killing the cougar when the practice is opposed by most Californians.” Richards refused to resign and fired back saying he did nothing wrong or illegal and told the Mercury News, “This originates from the enviro-terrorists being threatened by me.”
The topic of hound hunting has been talked about and debated for years. Animal welfare advocates speak out on behalf of the hunting dogs as well as the hunted wildlife.
According to the opposition, hunting dogs many times are subjected to abuse and have to endure cruel and unfair consequences. Prey are sometimes willing to fight back leaving the dogs with a clear disadvantage.
Some owners will discard and abandon their dogs after they pass the age that is deemed suitable to hunt. Lastly, hunting dogs are exposed to harsh elements and are susceptible to many illnesses. The following are a list of some of the most common health problems hunting dogs face:
- lyme disease
- tick infestation
- heat stroke
- Limber Tail syndrome
- Exercise Induced Collapse (EIC)
- snake bites
- foxtail infection
- Tongue injuries
Those who oppose also feel as though hunting dogs cruelly maim wild animals to death and give the hunter an unfair advantage. Hunting dogs will commonly chase and exhaust an animal (bear or cougar) for hours until they climb a tree where they are shot to death. This practice is banned in about one third of all states in America. Now California is a part of that list.
Hunting enthusiasts fired back with their common argument being that using hunting dogs are a good way to control overpopulation of species since dogs are a much better fit to track down animals than humans. According to them, using hunting dogs is a faster and more effective population management tool that all hunters should have the right to use. They also claim that the dogs provide them with a close range which allows for a more direct and clean shot resulting in a more humane death. Although dogs are exposed to nature’s harsh elements, they allege that a good pet owner can always keep a close eye on any problems that arises in their dogs and get quick medical attention.
Luckily this fight can be put to rest here in California – for now. Although, I’m sure similar debates will live on. Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States had this to say about the ban,
“The curtain will soon come down on the blood sport of ‘hounding.’ It is the right policy for California. Tens of thousands of citizens demanded this long overdue animal welfare reform, and today they won it.”
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