After a lengthy legislative battle between anti-hunting advocacy groups and hunters in the state of California over the use of dogs for hunting, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill this week that officially banned the practice across the state.
Senate Bill 1221, which Petersen's Hunting has followed since May, bans the use of hounds for bear and bobcat hunting. The bill was backed by Senator Ted Lieu, Dem., and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which fired up animal rights groups and anti-hunting constituencies across the state in support of the bill.
Governor Brown did not issue a statement as to why he signed the bill. Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, Rep., said the bill brings an unfortunate end to a hunting tradition that has gone on for hundreds of years and will take away almost $300,000 in revenue that is generated from hound-based hunts in the state, according to The Reporter.
HSUS played the most pivotal role in the whole fiasco, including the protest of former Fish and Game president Dan Richards, who was eventually removed because he participated in a legal cougar hunt in Idaho. Had SB 1221 not passed, HSUS threatened to ban bear and bobcat hunting altogether, according to Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS.
"They can get rid of hounding and deal with a segment of their community that is not well respected. Or they can potentially lose all bear and bobcat hunting," Pacelle threatened, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
For HSUS, this continues its legacy of war waged on hunting. Pacelle has said over and over that he intends to isolate individual hunting groups and then get rid of them, one by one.
"Now we have great strength around the state," Pacelle said. "They (bear hunters) add up to about one precinct in Los Angeles."
Pacelle, who has built a reputation for taking on any form of hunting with the backing of perhaps the nation's most powerful anti-hunting group, has another notch in his belt after his most recent win. First he took on and banned mountain lion hunting, and now the use of hounds is another relic lost to the past.
"What he did was put houndsmen out on an iceberg," Brian Riley, owner of Red Bank Outfitters in Tehama County, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The hunting community is in fear of HSUS. Sooner or later, he's going to come knocking on your door. You're next. If we don't stick together, we could get picked off like baby seals on the beach."
The question is, where is the Humane Society headed next, and who will be their next target?