Suit targets California hunting rules that allow GPS on dogs

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Animal rights groups are suing California over rules that allow animals to be hunted with the aid of hunting dogs wearing GPS tracking devices on their collars.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, which filed the lawsuit last week in Sacramento Superior Court, called the hunting method "unusually cruel and unfair." Tracking devices allow dogs to chase prey to the point of exhaustion, and then hunters follow the GPS signal to find an animal that can no longer flee and is easily shot, the group said.

The lawsuit was joined by the Public Interest Coalition and Friends of Animals. It targets the California Fish and Game Commission, which didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

The lawsuit says the commission violated state environmental law by failing to conduct an assessment of how the use would affect wildlife, Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney Alexandra Monson said Tuesday.

The rules also allow the use of "treeing switches" on dogs — devices that tell hunters when an animal has been chased into a tree, according to court filings.

It's the second time animal rights groups have petitioned California courts to prevent the commission from allowing the use of GPS collars and treeing switches for hunting. The previous lawsuit was filed in 2016. It was dismissed when the agency revisited its decision.