Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a controversial bill restricting the use of dogs in hunting bears and bobcats, his office announced this afternoon.

The legislation pitted wildlife advocates against hunters at the California Capitol -- the former raising concerns about the humane treatment of animals, the latter about urban elitism.

The Democratic governor signed the legislation without comment.

Senate Bill 1221, by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, prohibits using dogs to pursue bears and bobcats except in limited circumstances, including when a dog is guarding crops or livestock.

"I applaud Gov. Brown for signing this measure that will protect dogs, bears, bobcats and other wildlife," Lieu said in a prepared statement. "There is nothing sporting in shooting an exhausted bear clinging to a tree limb or a cornered bobcat."

The legislation was among a batch of bills Brown signed related to animals. Among them was Assembly Bill 1776, by Assemblyman Paul Fong, D-Cupertino, designating the Pacific leatherback sea turtle as the official state marine reptile.

Brown was unwilling, however, to afford a special designation for bats, vetoing Senate Bill 1480, by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, which would have prohibited the trapping of bats and restricted the netting and exclusion of them.

"Homeowners should be allowed to exclude bats from their home at any time," Brown wrote in his veto message.


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