Animal Legal and Historical Center
Great Apes and the Law: A complete resource for the legal status of the Great Apes within the United States
Michigan State University College of Law

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Texas Great Ape Laws

Statute Name Citation Summary
TX - Circus - Chapter 2152. Regulation of Circuses, Carnivals, and Zoos.   V. T. C. A., Occupations Code 2152.001 - 202   This set of Texas laws concerns the regulation of carnivals, circuses, and zoos. However, circuses are specifically exempted from regulation if they are licensed by the USDA and if the circus provides proof of (mandatory) inspection at least once a year. "Circus" is defined as a commercial variety show featuring animal acts for public entertainment. In Texas, the Texas Board of Health must adopt standards for the operation of circuses, carnivals, and zoos that promote humane conditions for animals and protect the public health and safety. A person may not operate a circus, carnival, or zoo unless the person holds a license issued under this chapter for the circus, carnival, or zoo. A person who knowingly operates a circus without a license under this chapter commits a Class C misdemeanor.  
TX - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes   TX PENAL 42.09; 42.091; 42.092; 42.10; 42.105   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.  Also included is Texas animal fighting provision, which criminalizes being a spectator at an animal fighting exhibition among other things. In 2011, Texas enacted a law prohibiting cockfighting.  
TX - Dangerous - Subchapter E: Dangerous Wild Animals   V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code 822.101 - 116   Chapter 822, Subchapter E regulates the keeping of dangerous wild animals. It imposes a registration requirement upon the owner of a dangerous wild animal and also sets forth insurance requirements.  One thing to note is that Texas animal cruelty laws do not apply to these wild animals.  
TX - Endangered Species - Chapter 68. Endangered Species   V. T. C. A., Parks & Wildlife Code 68.001 - 021   Texas defines endangered species as those listed on the federal ESA List as well as those designated in the state.  No person may capture, trap, take, or kill, or attempt to capture, trap, take, or kill, endangered fish or wildlife nor may he or she possess, sell, distribute, or offer or advertise for sale those species (unless allowed as described in the subchapter).  Notably, this chapter excepts from its provisions coyotes, cougars, bobcats, prairie dogs, and red foxes (with no mention as to what occurs in the event they become endangered).  Violation of the provisions results in a Class C Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor for the first offense, a Class B misdemeanor for the second offense, and a Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.  
TX - Exotic Animal - Discharge of Firearm in Public Place   V.T.C.A., Penal Code 42.01   Although it is illegal to discharge a firearm in a public place, or across a public road, this statute makes it an affirmative defense that the shooter had a reasonable fear of bodily injury to himself or to another by a "dangerous wild animal," which term includes but is not limited to a chimpanzee, orangutan, gorilla, lion, tiger, or bear.  
TX - Exotic pets - Subchapter A. Regulation of Keeping of Wild Animals   V. T. C. A., Local Government Code 240.001 - 004  

In this subchapter, “wild animal” is defined as a nondomestic animal that the commissioners court of a county determines is dangerous and is in need of control in that county. The commissioners court of a county by order may prohibit or regulate the keeping of a wild animal in the county. A person commits a Class C misdemeanor if the person violates an order adopted under this subchapter and the order defines the violation as an offense.

 
TX - Ordinances - 215.032. Exhibitions; Shows; Amusements   V.T.C.A., Local Government Code 215.032   This statute authorizes municipalities to prohibit or regulate circuses, exhibitions, and menageries.  

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