A California Superior Court ruling has tossed a lawsuit brought by a group of animal rights organizations against the use of GPS collars and treeing switches on hunting dogs. The Sacramento Superior Court issued a final ruling Oct. 24, 2019, dismissing the lawsuit.
The animal rights groups included the Public Interest Coalition, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Friends of Animals. Their action challenged a December 2016 decision by the California Fish and Game Commission to remove prohibitions on global positioning systems (GPS) and treeing switches in dog collars for dogs used in hunting mammals. The suit claimed the Commission's changes did not meet the "common-sense" exemption for the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In particular, the challenge said the Commission did not address the “significant impacts” that the use of the devices would cause.
While not formally weighing in on the case, American Kennel Club Government Relations Department was a part of a coalition of dog and hunting organizations that monitored the lawsuit.
While the Commission’s 2016 decision focused on hounds used in hunting big game that is typically treed, the animal rights lawsuit included generalized allegations that the use of dogs in hunting is “cruel, unethical, wasn’t fair chase and gave an unfair advantage to hunters”.
The suit also said that hunters are basically lazy and conspire with poachers to take game illegally, thus the use of GPS collars and treeing switches would enable these “conspirators” to poach on a scale that would cause significant environmental impacts.
Even though the suit was directed at the Fish and Game Commission, the California Attorney General’s office stepped in to defend the Commission’s ruling. The court decision, focused on allegations of CEQA violations, disregarded the emotional and non-factual language that filled the suit.
AKC GR is pleased that this ruling rejected the claims of the animal rights groups and we will continue to monitor this issue.