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!