Victory: California Bans Cruel Practice of Hounding

Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 12:30pm
bear in a tree

Guest blog post from Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations.

Californians, your hard work has paid off! Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the state’s bill to ban hounding (S.B. 1221) into law. The new law bans the practice of releasing radio-collared dogs loose in the woods to chase and tree bears and bobcats, all so trophy “hunters” can shoot the terrified animals down from point-blank range. California now joins the more than 30 states that do not permit this blatant and needless form of animal cruelty.

We started work early on this legislation, partnering with the many groups and shelters that attended our 2012 California Humane Lobby Day. Hundreds of advocates flooded the Capitol, where we held a rally for the hound dogs and wildlife—and of course, hound hunters showed up to oppose us and the ban. They were determined to preserve this unsporting pastime despite ample evidence of the grotesque abuses inherent to hounding.

Even under such pressure, humane voices won the day. Every time we asked for your help, you responded in full force. Your work has changed your state forever and made it a safer haven for thousands of animals. If you live in California, please take a moment to thank Governor Brown.

In addition to the hounding ban, Governor Brown signed two other great bills for companion animals:
Declawing/devocalization (S.B. 1229): Landlords are now expressly prohibited from discouraging potential tenants from applying for housing if their pets are not declawed or devocalized.
Cost of care in animal abuse cases (S.B. 1500): This measure clarifies existing law so that anyone accused of animal abuse must provide for the cost of care for animals seized from them. This helps shelters tremendously, and also helps ensure that animals will not end up back in the hands of their abusers.

As a California native, I was thrilled to join our California advocates in-person and work on this legislation! But I’m excited to announce that we now have Sacramento-based Kevin O’Neill, our new Western Region State Legislative Director, aboard to guide us as we take on new challenges in California, Oregon, Washington and Nevada. Welcome, Kevin—may this be just the beginning of great things from your states!

Want help us change laws to protect animals? Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade!

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Girlaaa...I think that something should done about the people who are trying to hurt or harm animals. The people who are harming animal should face the consequences. I also think that the people should get some help because the animals do not deserve this.

Stacy Husby

Way to go Gov. Jerry Brown!! All States should follow his lead!

Kay Heineman

I lived in the Northwoods of Wisconsin for only 3 years, but had to experience the act of bear hunting with dogs. I don't believe in hunting at all and this act was the cruelest I had ever heard of. Even for the dogs used who would get mauled by the bears before the owners shot the bears. Just an absolute horrible activity. This needs to be stopped in ALL states. It's just cruel and serves no purpose but for the entertainment of humans.

Bill Friedrich

Govenor, please make all laws possible to save bears from horrific deaths along with many other species of animals in your state.


I believe NC stills allows dogs to chase deer to a point where they are then shot. It is the only state that still allows this unsportsman like deer hunting. This needs to stop!


I am so proud to be a Californian today and kudos to Governor Brown for ending this needless cruel act for all involved.

Gianna Macias

This is a great start, however, ALL HUNTING SHOULD BE BANNED, and also the EXPERIMENTATION ON ANIMALS. Use criminals, offer them the chance to volunteer to get reduction in jail time, earn privileges.

Harold Burleson

The being laws should be change so the people commenting these crimes should'nt just be a fine they also should serve time in jail, and never be allowed to own animals again.


I was just up in Rice Lake last week and was very disturbed by the bear hunting going on. Is there any way we could stop this in Wisconsin? From what I heard, they are going to loosen the laws even more up there. Does anyone know how I can get involved to stop it?

Arden Allen

That's right, people don't hunt to feed themselves anymore. It's not even a "sport," and it never was in my opinion. It's an obsession among ignorant and mislead men who delusionally think they are making some kind of contribution to nature and society. And all this nonsense is driven by the profiteering entities fronted by the National Rifle Association. Protecting America from the invading hoardes of commies, Islamists, poor immigrants, governement agents? Shoot an animal for practice!!! That's the kind of nonsense many hunters are suffering from....