A California bill to ban the use of dogs to hunt bears and bobcats has stalled in the state Legislature.
Senate Bill 1221, by Democratic Sen. Ted Lieu, fell short of passage in the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife today. The bill was given the OK to be reconsidered next week. It was not immediately clear whether any members were absent or abstained from today's vote.
Supporters of the bill, which was sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, argued that the practice is cruel for both the targeted animals and the hounds. Lieu has in the past questioned the fairness of allowing a dog to chase a bear into a tree where it can be killed at close range, likening it to shooting a bear at a zoo.
The bill attracted strong opposition from a large coalition of hunting groups, which felt they were unfairly targeted by the legislation. They said the type of hunting prohibited under the bill is part of a long-standing and humane tradition that helps control the state's bear population.
Many advocates from both sides turned out for committee hearings on the issue.
The bill narrowly cleared the state Senate by a vote of 22-15 earlier this year.
CA Senate moves to ban hunting bears, bobcats with hounds