Inhumane and unsporting

Jennifer Fearing is the California senior state director of the Humane Society of the United States, seen here with Polly, a Plott hound pup

When I look down at five innocent and wholesome Plott hound puppies tumbling over one another in my living room, it’s hard to think that one of these sweet pups could have easily been lost, abandoned or mauled by a black bear or bobcat. These puppies were bred to hound and harass wildlife, but now I have the lucky task of finding them new jobs as treasured family pets.

Right now, the California Legislature is considering Senate Bill 1221, introduced by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and co-authored by Senate Pesident Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) to prohibit “hounding”—an inhumane and unsporting practice where trophy hunters use packs of radio-collared dogs to chase down bears and bobcats before shooting the terrified animal out of a tree.

While this practice is unquestionably terrorizing to wildlife, it also poses significant welfare problems for dogs. Dogs can be struck by vehicles, can die as a result of dehydration or confrontations with wildlife or are often abandoned at local animal shelters.

With 83 percent of Californians opposed to hound hunting, scrutiny of this activity is long overdue. The Senate passed S.B. 1221, and it is now before the Assembly for consideration. The growing momentum behind S.B. 1221 prompted the breeder of these puppies to surrender them for adoption, sparing them an unfortunate life of confronting wild animals two to three times their size.

Named in honor of S.B.1221’s co-authors and Gov. Jerry Brown, the puppies now have bright futures as pampered pets and as canine founders of their own paw-litical organization, California Hounds for Conservation.

S.B. 1221 is our opportunity to restore proper conservation practices into wildlife management and humanity into our relationship with some of our state’s greatest wildlife treasures. I urge you to make a call today to your state assembly member, and share your support for S.B. 1221 to end the inhumane practice of bear and bobcat hounding.