Das’s Wildlife Trapping Bill Signed Into Law

Outlaws Certain Traps and Killing Methods

Gov. Jerry Brown's dog Sutter puts his paw of approval on AB 789. From left: Jennifer Fearing, California Senior State Director for the Humane Society of the United States; Assemblymember Das Williams; and Leslie Villegas, legislative aide to Williams.

A wildlife trapping bill authored by Assemblymember Das Williams to protect animals from potentially cruel and unusual deaths was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown this Tuesday.

AB 798, which amends a section of California’s Fish and Game code, imposes new restrictions on a particularly brutal kind of trap — the conibear — and makes it illegal for private nuisance wildlife control operators (NWCOs) to kill the animals they catch with disturbing but previously lawful methods such as drowning, chest crushing, and the injection of chemical solvents like nail polish remover.

“We must take great care with all of our animals,” said Williams. “Even so-called ‘nuisance wildlife’ deserves to be treated humanely. It is time we hold trappers to a higher standard and demand that they end their severely cruel killing practices.”

Supported by 20 different animals rights groups and organizations — but opposed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife — the bill prohibits the use of body-gripping conibear traps that are bigger than six inches by six inches (unless they’re in water) and mandates the posting of warning signs when they’re set on public land. Domestic dogs and cats, Williams said, are often accidentally killed by conibears.

“We share this planet with wildlife,” Williams said. “Animals cannot speak for themselves so we must speak for them and stop their torturous, slow and painful deaths.”


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