As long as you’re in California, there’s never a lack of drama.
That continued to hold true as Senate Bill 1221—the hotly contested piece of legislation that would ban the use of dogs from bear and bobcat hunts—advanced on its way to a senate vote after being passed 44 to 29 this week by the State Assembly.
The vote stands as another notch in the belt of the many anti-hunting groups (PETA, anyone?) that have backed the bill, with full support from Democrats in the California Assembly like Ted Lieu, who authored the bill.
The anti-hunting constituency has continued to have its way, even forcing the removal of Dan Richards, former president of the California Fish & Game Commission, for his participation in a legal cougar hunt in Idaho this February. The Humane Society of the United States has also been a huge supporter of the bill, taking a stand against what they’ve called the undue brutalization of animals.
Assemblyman Anthony Portantino told the Mercury News, “This is about a key issue of terrorizing wildlife unnecessarily. It’s about terrorizing a bear with no recourse but to be brutalized.”
California hunters aren’t buying it, though, as they see a clear attack to hunting rights in general with SB 1221.
“There’s a bigger agenda behind this bill,” Republican Assemblyman Jim Nelson told the Mercury News, “and that is to diminish, if not destroy, hunting in California.”
The tension doesn’t appear to be on the downturn, as the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance and hunters across the state plan their next move. Stay tuned for updates.