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Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Penal Code. Title 9. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency. Chapter 42. Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses. Health and Safety Code. Title 10. Health and Safety of Animals. Chapter 821. Treatment and Disposition of Animals.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: TX PENAL § 42.09; § 42.092; TX HEALTH & S § 821.001 - 025; § 821.051 - 057

Citation: V. T. C. A., Penal Code § 42.09; 42.092; V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code § 821.001 - 025; § 821.051 - 057


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 06/2011

Summary:   These comprise Texas' anti-cruelty laws.  Texas has laws that prohibit cruelty to both livestock (§ 42.09) and non-livestock animals (§ 42.092).  Both laws requires a scienter of intentionally or knowingly, and enumerate limited defenses.  "Animal" means a domesticated living creature and wild living creature previously captured but does not include an uncaptured wild creature.


Statute in Full:

Title 9. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency. Chapter 42. Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.

§ 42.09. Cruelty to Animals.

§ 42.092. Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals.

Health and Safety Code. Title 10. Health and Safety of Animals. Chapter 821. Treatment and Disposition of Animals.  

SUBCHAPTER A - Treatment of Animals

§ 821.001. Definition.

§ 821.002. Treatment of Impounded Animals

§ 821.003. Treatment of Live Birds

§ 821.004. Knowledge or Acts of Corporate Agent or Employee

§ 821.021. Definition

§ 821.0211. Additional Definition

SUBCHAPTER B - Disposition of Cruelly Treated Animals

§ 821.022. Seizure of Cruelly Treated Animal

§ 821.023. Hearing; Order of Disposition or Return of Animal

§ 821.024. Sale or Disposition of Cruelly Treated Animal

§ 821.025. Appeal

Subchapter C. Euthanasia of Animals

§ 821.051. Definitions

§ 821.052. Methods of Euthanasia

§ 821.053. Requirements for Use of Sodium Pentobarbital

§ 821.054. Requirements for Use of Commercially Compressed Carbon Monoxide

§ 821.055. Training for Euthanasia Technicians

§ 821.056. Offense and Penalty

§ 821.057. Injunction

 

 

§ 42.09. Cruelty to Livestock Animals

(a) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(1) tortures a livestock animal;

(2) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, or care for a livestock animal in the person's custody;

(3) abandons unreasonably a livestock animal in the person's custody;

(4) transports or confines a livestock animal in a cruel and unusual manner;

(5) administers poison to a livestock animal, other than cattle, horses, sheep, swine, or goats, belonging to another without legal authority or the owner's effective consent;

(6) causes one livestock animal to fight with another livestock animal or with an animal as defined by Section 42.092;

(7) uses a live livestock animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack;

(8) trips a horse; or

(9) seriously overworks a livestock animal.

(b) In this section:

(1) “Abandon” includes abandoning a livestock animal in the person's custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person.

(2) “Cruel manner” includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.

(3) “Custody” includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of a livestock animal subject to the person's care and control, regardless of ownership of the livestock animal.

(4) “Depredation” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.

(5) “Livestock animal” means:

(A) cattle, sheep, swine, goats, ratites, or poultry commonly raised for human consumption;

(B) a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny;

(C) native or nonnative hoofstock raised under agriculture practices; or

(D) native or nonnative fowl commonly raised under agricultural practices.

(6) “Necessary food, water, or care” includes food, water, or care provided to the extent required to maintain the livestock animal in a state of good health.

(7) “Torture” includes any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering.

(8) “Trip” means to use an object to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2), (3), (4), or (9) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.092, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.092. An offense under Subsection (a)(1), (5), (6), (7), or (8) is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.092, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.092.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(8) that the actor tripped the horse for the purpose of identifying the ownership of the horse or giving veterinary care to the horse.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under this section that the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research.

(f) It is an exception to the application of this section that the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful:

(1) form of conduct occurring solely for the purpose of or in support of:

(A) fishing, hunting, or trapping; or

(B) wildlife management, wildlife or depredation control, or shooting preserve practices as regulated by state and federal law; or

(2) animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.

(g) This section does not create a civil cause of action for damages or enforcement of this section.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 917, ch. 342, § 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 549, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 78, § 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1991. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Penal Code § 42.11 and amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, § 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 318, § 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1283, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 54, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 450, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, § 2(116), eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 886, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

§ 42.092. Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals

(a) In this section:

(1) “Abandon” includes abandoning an animal in the person's custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person.

(2) “Animal” means a domesticated living creature, including any stray or feral cat or dog, and a wild living creature previously captured. The term does not include an uncaptured wild living creature or a livestock animal.

(3) “Cruel manner” includes a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.

(4) “Custody” includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of an animal subject to the person's care and control, regardless of ownership of the animal.

(5) “Depredation” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.

(6) “Livestock animal” has the meaning assigned by Section 42.09.

(7) “Necessary food, water, care, or shelter” includes food, water, care, or shelter provided to the extent required to maintain the animal in a state of good health.

(8) “Torture” includes any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1) tortures an animal or in a cruel manner kills or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;

(2) without the owner's effective consent, kills, administers poison to, or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;

(3) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person's custody;

(4) abandons unreasonably an animal in the person's custody;

(5) transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner;

(6) without the owner's effective consent, causes bodily injury to an animal;

(7) causes one animal to fight with another animal, if either animal is not a dog;

(8) uses a live animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack; or

(9) seriously overworks an animal.

(c) An offense under Subsection (b)(3), (4), (5), (6), or (9) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.09, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.09. An offense under Subsection (b)(1), (2), (7), or (8) is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.09, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.09.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that:

(1) the actor had a reasonable fear of bodily injury to the actor or to another person by a dangerous wild animal as defined by Section 822.101, Health and Safety Code; or

(2) the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (b)(2) or (6) that:

(1) the animal was discovered on the person's property in the act of or after injuring or killing the person's livestock animals or damaging the person's crops and that the person killed or injured the animal at the time of this discovery; or

(2) the person killed or injured the animal within the scope of the person's employment as a public servant or in furtherance of activities or operations associated with electricity transmission or distribution, electricity generation or operations associated with the generation of electricity, or natural gas delivery.

(f) It is an exception to the application of this section that the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful:

(1) form of conduct occurring solely for the purpose of or in support of:

(A) fishing, hunting, or trapping; or

(B) wildlife management, wildlife or depredation control, or shooting preserve practices as regulated by state and federal law; or

(2) animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.

(g) This section does not create a civil cause of action for damages or enforcement of the section.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 886, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

SUBCHAPTER A - Treatment of Animals

§ 821.001. Definition 

In this subchapter, "animal" includes every living dumb creature.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

 

§ 821.002. Treatment of Impounded Animals

(a) A person who impounds or causes the impoundment of an animal under state law or municipal ordinance shall supply the animal with sufficient wholesome food and water during its confinement.
(b) If an animal impounded under Subsection (a) continues to be without necessary food and water for more than 12 successive hours, any person may enter the pound or corral as often as necessary to supply the animal with necessary food and water. That person may recover the reasonable cost of the food and water from the owner of the animal. The animal is not exempt from levy and sale on execution of a judgment issued to recover those costs.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

 

§ 821.003. Treatment of Live Birds

(a) This section applies to a person who receives live birds for transportation or for confinement:
(1) on wagons or stands;
(2) by a person who owns a grocery store, commission house, or other market house; or
(3) by any other person if the birds are to be closely confined.
(b) The person shall immediately place the birds in coops, crates, or cages that are made of open slats or wire on at least three sides and that are of a height so that the birds can stand upright without touching the top.
(c) The person shall keep clean water and suitable food in troughs or other receptacles in the coops, crates, or cages. The troughs or other receptacles must be easily accessible to the confined birds and must be placed so that the birds cannot defile their contents.
(d) The person shall keep the coops, crates, or cages in a clean and wholesome condition and may place in each coop, crate, or cage only the number of birds that have room to move around and to stand without crowding each other.
(e) The person may not expose the birds to undue heat or cold and shall immediately remove all injured, diseased, or dead birds from the coops, crates, or cages.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

 

§ 821.004. Knowledge or Acts of Corporate Agent or Employee

The knowledge and acts of an agent or employee of a corporation in regard to an animal transported, owned, or used by or in the custody of the corporation are the knowledge and acts of the corporation.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

 

§ 821.021. Definition

In this subchapter, “cruelly treated” includes tortured, seriously overworked, unreasonably abandoned, unreasonably deprived of necessary food, care, or shelter, cruelly confined, or caused to fight with another animal.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

 

§ 821.0211. Additional Definition

In this subchapter, “magistrate” means any officer as defined in Article 2.09, Code of Criminal Procedure, except that the term does not include justices of the supreme court, judges of the court of criminal appeals, or courts of appeals, judges or associate judges of statutory probate courts, or judges or associate judges of district courts that give preference to family law matters or family district courts under Subchapter D, Chapter 24, Government Code.

CREDIT(S)
Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1043, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003. Amended by Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 334, § 10, eff. Sept. 1, 2009.

 

SUBCHAPTER B - Disposition of Cruelly Treated Animals

§ 821.022. Seizure of Cruelly Treated Animal

(a) If a peace officer or an officer who has responsibility for animal control in a county or municipality has reason to believe that an animal has been or is being cruelly treated, the officer may apply to a justice court or magistrate in the county or to a municipal court in the municipality in which the animal is located for a warrant to seize the animal.

(b) On a showing of probable cause to believe that the animal has been or is being cruelly treated, the court or magistrate shall issue the warrant and set a time within 10 calendar days of the date of issuance for a hearing in the appropriate justice court or municipal court to determine whether the animal has been cruelly treated.

(c) The officer executing the warrant shall cause the animal to be impounded and shall give written notice to the owner of the animal of the time and place of the hearing.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 387, § 1, eff. June 7, 1991; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1043, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

§ 821.023. Hearing; Order of Disposition or Return of Animal

(a) A finding in a court of competent jurisdiction that the owner of an animal is guilty of an offense under Section 42.09 or 42.092, Penal Code, involving the animal is prima facie evidence at a hearing authorized by Section 821.022 that the animal has been cruelly treated.

(b) A statement of an owner made at a hearing provided for under this subchapter is not admissible in a trial of the owner for an offense under Section 42.09 or 42.092, Penal Code.

(c) Each interested party is entitled to an opportunity to present evidence at the hearing.

(d) If the court finds that the animal's owner has cruelly treated the animal, the owner shall be divested of ownership of the animal, and the court shall:

(1) order a public sale of the animal by auction;

(2) order the animal given to a nonprofit animal shelter, pound, or society for the protection of animals; or

(3) order the animal humanely destroyed if the court decides that the best interests of the animal or that the public health and safety would be served by doing so.

(e) A court that finds that an animal's owner has cruelly treated the animal shall order the owner to pay all court costs, including costs of:

(1) investigation;

(2) expert witnesses;

(3) housing and caring for the animal during its impoundment;

(4) conducting any public sale ordered by the court; and

(5) humanely destroying the animal if destruction is ordered by the court.

(f) The court may order that an animal disposed of under Subsection (d)(1) or (d)(2) be spayed or neutered at the cost of the receiving party.

(g) The court shall order the animal returned to the owner if the court does not find that the animal's owner has cruelly treated the animal.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 157, § 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, §§ 14.43, 14.44, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1043, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 886, § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

§ 821.024. Sale or Disposition of Cruelly Treated Animal

(a) Notice of an auction ordered under this subchapter must be posted on a public bulletin board where other public notices are posted for the county or municipality. At the auction, a bid by the former owner of a cruelly treated animal or the owner's representative may not be accepted.

(b) Proceeds from the sale of the animal shall be applied first to any costs owed by the former owner under Section 821.023(e). The officer conducting the auction shall pay any excess proceeds to the justice or municipal court ordering the auction. The court shall return the excess proceeds to the former owner of the animal.

(c) If the officer is unable to sell the animal at auction, the officer may cause the animal to be humanely destroyed or may give the animal to a nonprofit animal shelter, pound, or society for the protection of animals.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 387, § 2, eff. June 7, 1991; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1043, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

§ 821.025. Appeal

(a) An owner divested of ownership of an animal under Section 821.023 may appeal the order to a county court or county court at law in the county in which the justice or municipal court is located. As a condition of perfecting an appeal, not later than the 10th calendar day after the date the order is issued, the owner must file a notice of appeal and an appeal bond in an amount determined by the court from which the appeal is taken to be adequate to cover the estimated expenses incurred in housing and caring for the impounded animal during the appeal process. Not later than the fifth calendar day after the date the notice of appeal and appeal bond is filed, the court from which the appeal is taken shall deliver a copy of the court's transcript to the county court or county court at law to which the appeal is made. Not later than the 10th calendar day after the date the county court or county court at law, as appropriate, receives the transcript, the court shall dispose of the appeal. The decision of the county court or county court at law under this section is final and may not be further appealed. [ [

(b) While an appeal under this section is pending, the animal may not be:

(1) sold or given away as provided by Sections 821.023 and 821.024; or

(2) destroyed, except under circumstances which would require the humane destruction of the animal to prevent undue pain to or suffering of the animal.

CREDIT(S)
Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1043, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 2003; Acts 2009, 81st Leg., ch. 1351, § 11(a), eff. Sept. 1, 2009.

 

Subchapter C. Euthanasia of Animals

§ 821.051. Definitions

In this subchapter:

(1) "Animal" has the meaning assigned by Section 821. 001.

(2) "Animal shelter" means a facility that collects, impounds, or keeps stray, homeless, abandoned, or unwanted animals.

(3) "Board" means the Texas Board of Health.

(4) "Department" means the Texas Department of Health.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 30, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

§ 821.052. Methods of Euthanasia

(a) A person may euthanize a dog or cat in the custody of an animal shelter only by administering sodium pentobarbital or commercially compressed carbon monoxide.

(b) A person may euthanize all other animals in the custody of an animal shelter, including birds and reptiles, only in accordance with the applicable methods, recommendations, and procedures set forth in the 2000 Report of the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia as modified or superseded by a subsequent report of the American Veterinary Medical Association Panel on Euthanasia that is approved by the board.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 30, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

§ 821.053. Requirements for Use of Sodium Pentobarbital

(a) The board by rule shall establish the requirements and procedures for administering sodium pentobarbital to euthanize an animal in the custody of an animal shelter.

(b) A person may administer sodium pentobarbital to euthanize an animal in the custody of an animal shelter only in accordance with the requirements and procedures established by board rule.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 30, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2005.

 

§ 821.054. Requirements for Use of Commercially Compressed Carbon Monoxide

(a) The board by rule shall establish:

(1) standards for a carbon monoxide chamber used to euthanize an animal in the custody of an animal shelter; and

(2) requirements and procedures for administering commercially compressed carbon monoxide to euthanize an animal in the custody of an animal shelter.

(b) A person administering commercially compressed carbon monoxide to euthanize an animal in the custody of an animal shelter:

(1) may use only a carbon monoxide chamber that meets the standards established by board rule; and

(2) may administer the commercially compressed carbon monoxide only in accordance with the requirements and procedures established by board rule.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 30, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2005.

 

§ 821.055. Training for Euthanasia Technicians

(a) A person may not euthanize an animal in the custody of an animal shelter unless the person has successfully completed, not more than three years before the date the person euthanizes the animal, a training course in the proper methods and techniques for euthanizing animals. The training course curriculum must include:

(1) the pharmacology, proper administration, and storage of euthanasia solutions;

(2) federal and state law regulating the storage and accountability of euthanasia solutions;

(3) euthanasia technician stress management;

(4) proper restraint and handling of an animal during euthanasia;

(5) the procedures for administering commercially compressed carbon monoxide to an animal;

(6) techniques for verifying an animal's death; and

(7) the proper disposal of a euthanized animal.

(b) The department must approve the sponsors and curriculum of the training course required by this section.

(c) This section does not apply to a person licensed to practice veterinary medicine in this state.

(d) Notwithstanding Subsection (a), an employee of an animal shelter is not required to have successfully completed the training course before the 120th day following the date of initial employment.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 30, § 1, eff. Jan. 1, 2005.

 

§ 821.056. Offense and Penalty

(a) A person commits an offense if the person violates this subchapter or a board rule adopted under this subchapter.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 30, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

§ 821.057. Injunction

A court of competent jurisdiction, on the petition of any person, may prohibit by injunction the substantial violation of this subchapter or a board rule adopted under this subchapter.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 30, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 



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