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Texas

Vernon's Texas Statutes and Codes Annotated. TITLE 10. HEALTH & SAFETY OF ANIMALS. CHAPTER 822. REGULATION OF ANIMALS. Subchapter D. Dangerous Dogs.

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: V. T. C. A., Health & Safety Code 822.041 - 047

Citation: TX HEALTH & S 822.041 - 047


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 11/2013

Summary:   Chapter 822, Subchapter D addresses dangerous dogs and their treatment, including dog attacks, registration, defenses, violations of the statute.


Statute in Full:

 § 822.041. Definitions

 § 822.042. Requirements for Owner of Dangerous Dog

 § 822.0421. Determination That Dog is Dangerous

 § 822.0422. Reporting of Incident in Certain Counties and Municipalities

 § 822.0423. Hearing

 § 822.043. Registration

 § 822.044. Attack by Dangerous Dog

 § 822.045. Violations

 § 822.046. Defense

 § 822.047. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs

 

 

822.041. Definitions

 In this subchapter:

  (1) "Animal control authority" means a municipal or county animal control office with authority over the area where the dog is kept or a county sheriff in an area with no animal control office.

  (2) "Dangerous dog" means a dog that:

   (A) makes an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury and occurs in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on   its own;  or

   (B) commits unprovoked acts in a place other than an enclosure in which the dog was being kept and that was reasonably certain to prevent the dog from leaving the enclosure on its own and those acts cause a person to reasonably believe that the dog will attack and cause bodily injury to that person.

  (3) "Dog" means a domesticated animal that is a member of the canine family.

  (4) "Secure enclosure" means a fenced area or structure that is:

   (A) locked;

   (B) capable of preventing the entry of the general public, including children;

   (C) capable of preventing the escape or release of a dog;

   (D) clearly marked as containing a dangerous dog;  and

   (E) in conformance with the requirements for enclosures established by the local animal control authority.

  (5) "Owner" means a person who owns or has custody or control of the dog.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

 

822.042. Requirements for Owner of Dangerous Dog

 (a) Not later than the 30th day after a person learns that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog, the person shall:

  (1) register the dangerous dog with the animal control authority for the area in which the dog is kept;

  (2) restrain the dangerous dog at all times on a leash in the immediate control of a person or in a secure enclosure;

  (3) obtain liability insurance coverage or show financial responsibility in an amount of at least $100,000 to cover damages resulting from an attack by  the dangerous dog causing bodily injury to a person and provide proof of the required liability insurance coverage or financial responsibility to the animal control authority for the area in which the dog is kept;  and

  (4) comply with an applicable municipal or county regulation, requirement, or restriction on dangerous dogs.

 (b) The owner of a dangerous dog who does not comply with Subsection (a) shall deliver the dog to the animal control authority not later than the 30th day after the owner learns that the dog is a dangerous dog.

 (c) If, on application of any person, a justice court, county court, or municipal court finds, after notice and hearing as provided by Section 822.0423, that the owner of a dangerous dog has failed to comply with Subsection (a) or (b), the court shall order the animal control authority to seize the dog and shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure.   The authority shall seize the dog or order its seizure and shall provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions.

 (d) The owner shall pay any cost or fee assessed by the municipality or county related to the seizure, acceptance, impoundment, or destruction of the dog. The governing body of the municipality or county may prescribe the amount of the fees.

 (e) The court shall order the animal control authority to humanely destroy the dog if the owner has not complied with Subsection (a) before the 11th day after the date on which the dog is seized or delivered to the authority.   The court shall order the authority to return the dog to the owner if the owner complies with Subsection (a) before the 11th day after the date on which the dog is seized or delivered to the authority.

 (f) The court may order the humane destruction of a dog if the owner of the dog has not been located before the 15th day after the seizure and impoundment of the dog.

 (g) For purposes of this section, a person learns that the person is the owner of a dangerous dog when:

  (1) the owner knows of an attack described in Section 822.041(2)(A) or (B);

  (2) the owner receives notice that a justice court, county court, or municipal court has found that the dog is a dangerous dog under Section 822.0423;  or

  (3) the owner is informed by the animal control authority that the dog is a dangerous dog under Section 822.0421.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 96, § 1, eff. May 17, 1999.

 

§ 822.0421. Determination That Dog is Dangerous

(a) If a person reports an incident described by Section 822.041(2), the animal control authority may investigate the incident. If, after receiving the sworn statements of any witnesses, the animal control authority determines the dog is a dangerous dog, it shall notify the owner of that fact.

(b) An owner, not later than the 15th day after the date the owner is notified that a dog owned by the owner is a dangerous dog, may appeal the determination of the animal control authority to a justice, county, or municipal court of competent jurisdiction. An owner may appeal the decision of the justice, county, or municipal court in the same manner as appeal for other cases from the justice, county, or municipal court.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

822.0422. Reporting of Incident in Certain Counties and Municipalities

 (a) This section applies only to a county with a population of more than 2,800,000, to a county in which the commissioners court has entered an order electing to be governed by this section, and to a municipality in which the governing body has adopted an ordinance electing to be governed by this section.

 (b) A person may report an incident described by Section 822.041(2) to a municipal court, a justice court, or a county court.   The owner of the dog shall deliver the dog to the animal control authority not later than the fifth day after the date on which the owner receives notice that the report has been filed.   The authority may provide for the impoundment of the dog in secure and humane conditions until the court orders the disposition of the dog.

 (c) If the owner fails to deliver the dog as required by Subsection (b), the court shall order the animal control authority to seize the dog and shall issue a warrant authorizing the seizure.   The 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.   The owner shall pay any cost incurred in seizing the dog.

 (d) The court shall determine, after notice and hearing as provided in Section 822.0423, whether the dog is a dangerous dog.

 (e) The court, after determining that the dog is a dangerous dog, may order the animal control authority to continue to impound the dangerous dog in secure and humane conditions until the court orders disposition of the dog under Section 822.042 and the dog is returned to the owner or destroyed.

 (f) The owner shall pay a cost or fee assessed under Section 822.042(d).

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 96, § 2, eff. May 17, 1999.

 

822.0423. Hearing

 (a) The court, on receiving a report of an incident under Section 822.0422 or on application under Section 822.042(c), shall set a time for a hearing to determine whether the dog is a dangerous dog or whether the owner of the dog has complied with Section 822.042.   The hearing must be held not later than the 10th day after the date on which the dog is seized or delivered.

 (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 or city attorney, is entitled to present evidence at the hearing.

 (d) An owner or person filing the action may appeal the decision of the municipal court, justice court, or county court in the manner provided for the appeal of cases from the municipal, justice, or county court.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

822.043. Registration

 (a) An animal control authority for the area in which the dog is kept shall annually register a dangerous dog if the owner:

  (1) presents proof of:

   (A) liability insurance or financial responsibility, as required by Section 822.042;

   (B) current rabies vaccination of the dangerous dog;  and

   (C) the secure enclosure in which the dangerous dog will be kept;  and

  (2) pays an annual registration fee of $50.

 (b) The animal control authority shall provide to the owner registering a dangerous dog a registration tag.   The owner must place the tag on the dog's collar.

 (c) If an owner of a registered dangerous dog sells or moves the dog to a new address, the owner, not later than the 14th day after the date of the sale or move, shall notify the animal control authority for the area in which the new address is located.   On presentation by the current owner of the dangerous dog's prior registration tag and payment of a fee of $25, the animal control authority shall issue a new registration tag to be placed on the dangerous dog's collar.

 (d) An owner of a registered dangerous dog shall notify the office in which the dangerous dog was registered of any attacks the dangerous dog makes on people.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.

 

822.044. Attack by Dangerous Dog 

a) A person commits an offense if the person is the owner of a dangerous dog and the dog makes an unprovoked attack on another person outside the dog's enclosure and causes bodily injury to the other person.

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

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

(d) Repealed by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 669, § 8.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 2007, 80th Leg., ch. 669, §§ 7, 8, eff. Sept. 1, 2007.

 

822.045. Violations

 (a) A person who owns or keeps custody or control of a dangerous dog commits an offense if the person fails to comply with Section 822.042 or Section 822.0422(b) or an applicable municipal or county regulation relating to dangerous dogs.

 (b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), an offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

 (c) An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has previously been convicted under this section.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 99, § 2, eff. Sept. 1, 1997.

 

822.046. Defense

 (a) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.044 or Section 822.045 that the person is a veterinarian, a peace officer, a person employed by a recognized animal shelter, or a person employed by the state or a political subdivision of the 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 822.044 or Section 822.045 that the person is an employee of the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice or a law enforcement agency and trains or uses dogs for law enforcement or corrections purposes.

 (c) It is a defense to prosecution under Section 822.044 or Section 822.045 that the person is a dog trainer or an employee of a guard dog company under Chapter 1702, Occupations Code.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991. Amended by Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 1420, § 14.809, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.

 

822.047. Local Regulation of Dangerous Dogs

 A county or municipality may place additional requirements or restrictions on dangerous dogs if the requirements or restrictions:

  (1) are not specific to one breed or several breeds of dogs;  and

  (2) are more stringent than restrictions provided by this subchapter.

CREDIT(S)

Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 916, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1991.




 



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