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California Makes Progress on Animal Protection Legislation

The Humane Society of the United States Urges Governor Brown to Protect Wildlife from Toxic Lead Exposure

This session, the California Legislature sent six animal protection bills to Gov. Jerry Brown, four of which he has already signed. These measures were supported by The Humane Society of the United States, and most passed both the Senate and Assembly by strong margins and with bipartisan support. Several legislative proposals that would have overturned existing animal protections or enacted harmful policies failed to advance this session. The overwhelming progress for animals continues to reinforce California’s proven track record as a national leader for forward-thinking animal protection legislation. However, there are still two important bills on the governor’s desk.

“We are delighted that progress for animal protection continued robustly in California this year at the state Capitol,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The HSUS. “We encourage Californians to stay the course and urge Governor Brown to sign the bills that protect bobcats from cruel trapping and wildlife from lead exposure from spent hunting ammunition.”

The following bills passed the legislature and await action by Gov. Brown:

  • Assembly Bill 711 – to phase in a prohibition on lead ammunition to shoot wildlife. Co-sponsored by The HSUS, Audubon California and Defenders of Wildlife and co-authored by Assemblymembers Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, and Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, AB 711 is supported by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Medical Association and Children Now, along with dozens of supporting public health, environmental, animal protection organizations and local governments. More than 130 wildlife species and humans are adversely affected by fragments of lead bullets or shotgun pellets left behind in the meat or carcasses of hunted animals.
  • Assembly Bill 1213 – This bill would add a no-trapping buffer zone for bobcats around Joshua Tree National Park and protect private property rights statewide by requiring bobcat trappers to seek permission before laying traps on private land. Co-sponsored by The HSUS and the Center for Biological Diversity and authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, AB 1213 received bipartisan support in the legislature and was spurred by news investigations revealing excessive trapping activity around the perimeter of Joshua Tree.

Gov. Brown has signed the following bills:

  • Assembly Bill 265 – Authored by Assemblymember Mike Gatto, D-Glendale, to limit civil liability for local governments that operate dog parks.
  • Assembly Bill 339 – This bill, authored by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento and co-sponsored by Born Free USA and the State Humane Association of California, authorizes sale of live animals only at swap meets that adopt certain standards for the care and treatment of those animals at the time of the meet and in transport. Assembly Bill 789 – Co-sponsored by The HSUS and Born Free USA, and authored by Assemblymember Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, this bill prohibits wildlife trappers from using specific methods of killing (stomping, drowning or injection of toxic chemicals); requires the posting of signage where killer-type traps are set on public lands; and reduces the size of allowable body-crushing traps.
  • Senate Bill 132 – This bill by Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, requires residents to use nonlethal procedures when removing or taking any mountain lion perceived to be an imminent threat to public health or safety unless the mountain lion can reasonably be expected to cause immediate death or physical harm.

The HSUS commends the legislature for not moving forward on the following bills:

  • Assembly Bill 343 – This so-called “Ag Gag” bill, pushed by the California Cattlemen’s Association and authored by Assemblymember Jim Patterson, D-Fresno, would have hindered whistleblowers’ efforts to expose abuses at livestock operations. AB 343 faced a wall of opposition from The HSUS, other animal protection organizations, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, ACLU, Teamsters union and 19 California newspaper editorial boards. In response, Assemblymember Patterson pulled the bill hours before its first hearing in the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
  • Assembly Bill 1230 – Introduced by Assemblymember Tim Donnelly, R-Twentynine Palms, this bill would have repealed last year’s enacted prohibition on the “hounding” of bears and bobcats by hunters using packs of dogs. Assemblymember Donnelly pulled the bill before its first hearing.

Media Contact: Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, stwining@humanesociety.org

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