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Texas

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. Health and Safety Code. Title 10. Health and Safety of Animals. Chapter 822. Regulation of Animals. Subchapter A. Dogs That Are a Danger to Persons; Subchapter B. Dogs and Coyotes That Are a Danger to Animals

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code 822.001 - 013

Citation: TX HEALTH & S 822.001 - 013


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 11/2013

Summary:   Subchapter A addresses the treatment, seizure, and disposition of dogs that are a danger to people.  This subchapter applies to any dog that causes a person's death or serious bodily injury, regardless of provocation or the location in which the incident occurred.


Statute in Full:

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS; DOGS THAT ATTACK PERSONS OR ARE A DANGER TO PERSONS

 § 822.001. Definitions
 
 § 822.0011. Application to Certain Property

 § 822.002. Seizure of a Dog Causing Death of or Serious Bodily Injury to a Person

 § 822.003. Hearing

 § 822.004. Destruction of Dog

 § 822.005. Attack by Dog

 § 822.006. Defenses

 § 822.007. Local Regulation of Dogs

SUBCHAPTER B. DOGS AND COYOTES THAT ARE A DANGER TO ANIMALS

§ 822.011. Definitions

 § 822.012. Certain Dogs and Coyotes Prohibited from Running at Large; Criminal Penalty

 § 822.013. Dogs or Coyotes That Attack Animals

 

 

 

SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS; DOGS THAT ATTACK PERSONS OR ARE A DANGER TO PERSONS

822.001. Definitions

In this Subchapter:

(1) “Animal control authority” means a municipal or county animal control office with authority over the area in which the dog is kept or the county sheriff in an area that does not have an animal control office.

(2) “Serious bodily injury” means an injury characterized by severe bite wounds or severe ripping and tearing of muscle that would cause a reasonably prudent person to seek treatment from a medical professional and would require hospitalization without regard to whether the person actually sought medical treatment.

(3) “Dangerous dog,” “dog,” “owner,” and “secure enclosure” have the meanings assigned by Section 822.041.

(4) “Secure” means to take steps that a reasonable person would take to ensure a dog remains on the owner's property, including confining the dog in an enclosure that is capable of preventing the escape or release of the dog.

CREDIT(S)

Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 669, § 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

§ 822.0011. Application to Certain Property

For purposes of this subchapter, a person's property includes property the person is entitled to possess or occupy under a lease or other agreement.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 669, § 4, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.


822.002. Seizure of a Dog Causing Death of or Serious Bodily Injury to A Person

 (a) A justice court, county court, or municipal court shall order the animal control authority to seize a dog and shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure:

  (1) on the sworn complaint of any person, including the county attorney, the city attorney, or a peace officer, that the dog has caused the death of or serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person;  and

  (2) on a showing of probable cause to believe that the dog caused the death of or serious bodily injury to the person as stated in the complaint.

 (b) The animal control authority shall seize the dog or order its seizure and shall provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions until the court orders the disposition of the dog.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.001 and amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

822.003. Hearing

 (a) The court shall set a time for a hearing to determine whether the dog caused the death of or serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person.   The hearing must be held not later than the 10th day after the date on which the warrant is issued.

 (b) The court shall give written notice of the time and place of the hearing to:

  (1) the owner of the dog or the person from whom the dog was seized;  and

  (2) the person who made the complaint.

 (c) Any interested party, including the county attorney or city attorney, is entitled to present evidence at the hearing.

 (d) The court shall order the dog destroyed if the court finds that the dog caused the death of a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person.   If that finding is not made, the court shall order the dog released to:

  (1) its owner;

  (2) the person from whom the dog was seized;  or

  (3) any other person authorized to take possession of the dog.

 (e) The court may order the dog destroyed if the court finds that the dog caused serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person.   If that finding is not made, the court shall order the dog released to:

  (1) its owner;

  (2) the person from whom the dog was seized;  or

  (3) any other person authorized to take possession of the dog.

 (f) The court may not order the dog destroyed if the court finds that the dog caused the serious bodily injury to a person by attacking, biting, or mauling the person and:

  (1) the dog was being used for the protection of a person or person's property, the attack, bite, or mauling occurred in an enclosure in which the  dog was being kept, and:

   (A) the enclosure was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and provided notice of the presence of a dog;  and

   (B) the injured person was at least eight years of age, and was trespassing in the enclosure when the attack, bite, or mauling occurred;

  (2) the dog was not being used for the protection of a person or person's property, the attack, bite, or mauling occurred in an enclosure in which the dog was being kept, and the injured person was at least eight years of age and was trespassing in the enclosure when the attack, bite, or mauling occurred;

  (3) the attack, bite, or mauling occurred during an arrest or other action of a peace officer while the peace officer was using the dog for law enforcement purposes;

  (4) the dog was defending a person from an assault or person's property from damage or theft by the injured person;  or

  (5) the injured person was younger than eight years of age, the attack, bite, or mauling occurred in an enclosure in which the dog was being kept, and the enclosure was reasonably certain to keep a person younger than eight years of age from entering.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.002 and amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

822.004. Destruction of Dog

 The destruction of a dog under this subchapter must be performed by:

  (1) a licensed veterinarian;

  (2) personnel of a recognized animal shelter or humane society who are trained in the humane destruction of animals;  or

  (3) personnel of a governmental agency responsible for animal control who are trained in the humane destruction of animals.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.003 by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

822.005. Attack by a Dog

 (a) A person commits an offense if the person is the owner of a dog and the person:

(1) with criminal negligence, as defined by Section 6.03, Penal Code, fails to secure the dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs at a location other than the owner's real property or in or on the owner's motor vehicle or boat and that causes serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 1.07, Penal Code, or death to the other person; or

(2) knows the dog is a dangerous dog by learning in a manner described by Section 822.042(g) that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog, and the dangerous dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person that occurs at a location other than a secure enclosure in which the dog is restrained in accordance with Subchapter D and that causes serious bodily injury, as defined by Section 822.001, or death to the other person.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree unless the attack causes death, in which event the offense is a felony of the second degree.

(c) If a person is found guilty of an offense under this section, the court may order the dog destroyed by a person listed in Section 822.004.

(d) A person who is subject to prosecution under this section and under any other law may be prosecuted under this section, the other law, or both.

CREDIT(S)

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.004 and amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 669, § 5, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

§ 822.006. Defenses

(a) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that the person is a veterinarian, a veterinary clinic employee, a peace officer, a person employed by a recognized animal shelter, or a person employed by this state or a political subdivision of this state to deal with stray animals and has temporary ownership, custody, or control of the dog in connection with that position.

(b) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that the person is an employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or a law enforcement agency and trains or uses dogs for law enforcement or corrections purposes and is training or using the dog in connection with the person's official capacity.

(c) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that the person is a dog trainer or an employee of a guard dog company under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code, and has temporary ownership, custody, or control of the dog in connection with that position.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that the person is disabled and uses the dog to provide assistance, the dog is trained to provide assistance to a person with a disability, and the person is using the dog to provide assistance in connection with the person's disability.

(e) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that the person attacked by the dog was at the time of the attack engaged in conduct prohibited by Chapters 19, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29, and 30, Penal Code.

(f) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that, at the time of the conduct charged, the person and the dog are participating in an organized search and rescue effort at the request of law enforcement.

(g) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that, at the time of the conduct charged, the person and the dog are participating in an organized dog show or event sponsored by a nationally recognized or state-recognized kennel club.

(h) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that, at the time of the conduct charged, the person and the dog are engaged in:

(1) a lawful hunting activity; or

(2) a farming or ranching activity, including herding livestock, typically performed by a working dog on a farm or ranch.

(i) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.005(a) that, at the time of the conduct charged, the person's dog was on a leash and the person:

(1) was in immediate control of the dog; or

(2) if the person was not in control of the dog, the person was making immediate and reasonable attempts to regain control of the dog.

CREDIT(S)
Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 669, § 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

§ 822.007. Local Regulation of Dogs

This subchapter does not prohibit a municipality or county from adopting leash or registration requirements applicable to dogs.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 669, § 6, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

Subchapter B. Dogs and Coyotes That Are a Danger to Animals

§ 822.011. Definitions

In this subchapter:

(1) “Dog or coyote” includes a crossbreed between a dog and a coyote.

(2) “Livestock” includes exotic livestock as defined by Section 161.001, Agriculture Code.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1002, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

§ 822.012. Certain Dogs and Coyotes Prohibited From Running at Large; Criminal Penalty

(a) The owner, keeper, or person in control of a dog or coyote that the owner, keeper, or person knows is accustomed to run, worry, or kill livestock, domestic animals, or fowls may not permit the dog or coyote to run at large.

(b) A person who violates this section commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is punishable by a fine of not more than $100.

(c) Each time a dog or coyote runs at large in violation of this section constitutes a separate offense.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.011 and amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1002, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 

§ 822.013. Dogs or Coyotes That Attack Animals

(a) A dog or coyote that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked livestock, domestic animals, or fowls may be killed by:

(1) any person witnessing the attack; or

(2) the attacked animal's owner or a person acting on behalf of the owner if the owner or person has knowledge of the attack.

(b) A person who kills a dog or coyote as provided by this section is not liable for damages to the owner, keeper, or person in control of the dog or coyote.

(c) A person who discovers on the person's property a dog or coyote known or suspected of having killed livestock, domestic animals, or fowls may detain or impound the dog or coyote and return it to its owner or deliver the dog or coyote to the local animal control authority. The owner of the dog or coyote is liable for all costs incurred in the capture and care of the dog or coyote and all damage done by the dog or coyote.

(d) The owner, keeper, or person in control of a dog or coyote that is known to have attacked livestock, domestic animals, or fowls shall control the dog or coyote in a manner approved by the local animal control authority.

(e) A person is not required to acquire a hunting license under Section 42.002, Parks and Wildlife Code, to kill a dog or coyote under this section.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Renumbered from V.T.C.A., Health & Safety Code § 822.033 and amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1002, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

 



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