On the surface, SB 1221 can appear to be a law that will protect California's wildlife and hunting dogs. However, there is some very concerning language in the law.
From the text of the bill: "SECTION 1.
Section 3032 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:
(a) As used in this section:
(1) “Bear” and “pursue” have the same meanings as defined in Section 3960.
(2) “Hound” means a dog used to pursue mammals."
--This section means that ANY dog would be classified as a "hound" if a Fish & Game employee determines that the animal is "used to pursue mammals".--
Section 3960 of the Fish and Game Code is amended to read:
(B) Capture or dispatch any dog inflicting injury or immediately threatening to inflict injury to any big game mammal during the closed season on that mammal, and the department may capture or dispatch any dog inflicting injury or immediately threatening to inflict injury on any bear or bobcat at any time, or any fully protected, rare, or endangered mammal at any time.
(C) Capture or dispatch any dog inflicting injury or immediately threatening to inflict injury to any mammal in a game refuge or ecological reserve if hunting within that refuge or ecological reserve is unlawful.
>>>(2) No criminal or civil liability shall accrue to any department employee as a result of enforcement of this section.<<<
Essentially, this law gives Fish & Game license to kill any dog found on a refuge or ecological reserve or any time hunting is not in season because the wording of this bill is so vague and does not put enough burden of proof on F&G's shoulders . If there can be no civil or criminal liability to an F&G employee upon killing (dispatching) or capturing a dog, where is the due process for the citizens of California and where is the accountability to F&G to be honest and interpret the law justly?
We ask that Governor Jerry Brown veto SB 1221 based on the fact that it denies ALL CA dog owners their rights to due process and grants way too much discretion to the Department of Fish & Game.
The complete bill text can be found here: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml;jsessionid=1efca575b6814f603043733c6f5d