Compilation of State of
Texas Animal Control Laws
Essentially, every county in
Texas has animal control if related laws are
proactively enforced. Proactively
enforcing these laws offers promise for the correction of pet overpopulation in
our county because it will instill responsibility with pet ownership. The root of pet overpopulation stems
from irresponsible people who allow their pets to remain unsterilized, run at
large and to breed at will—thus fueling pet overpopulation and burdening our
communities and citizens with four serious liabilities—health, economic, legal,
and safety (HELS). The following is
a compilation of existing State of
Texas laws relating to animal control. Because the majority of our county is
without local (city) law enforcement, the Sheriff Office becomes an important
part in animal control for our county.
To fully support an animal control program, a central animal shelter is
needed as its nucleus—a challenge that Hill County Paw Pals has been fund
raising and facilitating for the past six years.
The laws are:
Control Act (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 826). Requires all pet owners to vaccinate
(and keep current) their pets against the deadly rabies virus after four months
of age. Class C Misdemeanor with up
to $300 fine.
Abandonment of Dogs and Cats (Penal Code 42.09 Animal Cruelty).
Class A Misdemeanor with up to $4,000
fine and/or year in jail.
Shooting “stray” Dogs and Cats
(Penal Code 42.09 Animal Cruelty). Any
person who shoots a non-livestock animal, which includes any stray or feral cat
or dog, and a wild living creature previously captured, can be charged with a
felony offense. Penal Code 42.092 of
the State of Texas law states that a person must have the owner’s consent to
kill the animal (exceptions to prosecution are provided in Section
42.092(e)(1)). It is clear that a
“stray” dog or cat either has no owner or that the person who shoots the animal
did not get the owner’s consent.
Dogs Dangerous to Animals (Texas Health and
Safety Code Chapter 822 Subchapter B). The
owner or keeper of a dog that the person knows is
accustomed to chase or kill
livestock, domestic animals, or fowl may not allow the dog to run at large. The penalty of the owner who allows
his dog to run at large is in violation and can be punished with a fine not to
exceed $100. This law became
effective in 1989.
Keeping a Dangerous Dog (Texas Health and
Safety Code Chapter 822 Sub-Chapter D).
A dangerous dog is defined as one that makes unprovoked attacks or
acts like its going to attack
a person when it is out of the enclosure which it is being kept. State of
Texas law (Chapter 822.041) states that the owner of a
dangerous dog must register the dog with animal control office or the Sheriff
Office in areas without an animal control office and restrain the dog at all
times on a leash when outside its secure enclosure. The owner must also purchase a
$100,000 liability insurance policy specific for the dog to cover the cost of
potential damage to a person. This
law became effective in 1991.
Local Rabies Control Authority
(Health and Safety Code Chapter 826.017). Mandates that every county have this
Increases penalty for dog fighting from a Class A Misdemeanor to a
State Jail Felony and increases punishment for people who attend dog fights.
law. Prohibits an owner from
tethering a dog outside between the hours of
10pm to 6am and prohibits tethering for more than 3 hours.
It also prohibits tethering outside during extreme weather conditions
such as when temperature is below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
as Lillian’s Law. This law provides that
a dog owner can be held criminally responsible if the dog causes serious bodily
injury or death at a location other than the owner’s property in an unprovoked
attack during which the owner by criminal negligence failed to secure the dog.
Texas Health &
Safety Code, Chapter 821 (Treatment &
Disposition of Animals), Subchapter C. Requires all animals in animal
shelters be euthanized in a humane manner with
only one of two methods by a licensed veterinarian or certified technician:
administrating sodium pentobarbital or commercially compressed carbon monoxide. In Subchapter C, “animal shelter” is
defined as a facility that collects, impounds or keeps stray, homeless,
abandoned or unwanted animals. Thus,
Subchapter C applies to rescue groups, humane societies, public animal shelters,
and confinement areas used by law enforcement officers for abandoned or unwanted
animals in the interest of public safety and health. A violation of any provision of
Subchapter C is punishable as a Class B
misdemeanor which carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail or a fine of up to
$2,000 or both. In other words,
communities can not shoot, poison, drown or dump their “strays”.
Hill County Paw Pals, Inc. non-profit corporation P.O.   Box 1533, Hillsboro, Texas 76645, (254) 580-0679