SUBCHAPTER C. WILDLIFE REHABILITATION PERMITS
§ 69.43 . Definitions
§ 69.44 . General Provisions
§ 69.45 . Permit Required
§ 69.46 . Application for Permit
§ 69.47 . Refusal of Permit Issuance or Renewal; Review
§ 69.48 . Permit Renewals
§ 69.49 . General Facilities Standards
§ 69.50 . Transfers
§ 69.51 . Release of Rehabilitated Wildlife
§ 69.52 . Reports and Recordkeeping
§ 69.53 . Violations and Penalties
The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) Education--Activities that encourage management and conservation of wildlife resources or that are intended to increase the public's awareness and understanding of aspects of wildlife biology.
(2) Final disposition--The terminal status of wildlife rehabilitation efforts due to transfer, retention, mortality, or euthanasia.
(3) Fostering--Using a captive animal to rear young animals of the same species.
(4) Holding--Retaining in captivity.
(5) Human imprinting or human bonding--A dependency or fixation upon humans as parent substitutes or companions.
(6) Non-releasable animal--An animal which, after rehabilitation, is determined by the department to be unlikely to survive in the wild if released.
(7) Propagate--To allow animals to produce offspring.
(8) Rehabilitation--The temporary caring for injured, orphaned, or sick wildlife until such animals can be released to the wild.
(9) Satellite rehabilitation facility (satellite facility)--A facility registered with the department and operated by a subpermittee under the supervision of a permittee.
(10) Socialize--Using a captive animal to teach wild behaviors to juvenile animals of the same species.
(11) Subpermittee--A person authorized by a permittee to conduct activities governed by this subchapter.
(12) "Wildlife Protected" wildlife--as defined by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C.
(13) Supervisory permittee--A permittee who is responsible for the activities of subpermittees listed on the permittee's permit and volunteers at the permittee's or subpermittee's facility or satellite facility, as applicable.
(14) Volunteer--An individual who is not a permittee or subpermittee and works with permitted wildlife in the presence of the permittee or subpermittee.
Source: The provisions of this §69.43 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) Activities authorized by a permit issued under this subchapter shall be conducted only by the permittee and/or subpermittees named on the permit or volunteers in compliance with the requirements of this subchapter.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, activities authorized by a permit issued under this subchapter shall be conducted only at a rehabilitation facility or satellite facility registered with the department via an electronic application designated by the department for that purpose.
(c) A permittee or subpermittee may possess sick or injured wildlife while not at a registered facility or satellite facility only for the amount of time necessary to stabilize and transport the wildlife to a registered facility or satellite facility.
(d) A volunteer may engage in permitted activities if:
(1) the volunteer is identified on the daily volunteer log as required under §69.52 of this title (relating to Reports and Recordkeeping); and
(2) the supervisory permittee or a subpermittee is present. At any time that the supervisory permittee or a subpermittee is not present, volunteer activity must be limited to feeding, watering, cleaning of cages and enclosures, and other custodial activities that involve only incidental contact with wildlife.
(e) Wildlife held under the authority of a permit issued under this subchapter may not be sold, bartered, or exchanged for any consideration. A permit issued under this subchapter shall not authorize a person, firm, or corporation to engage in the propagation or commercial sale of wildlife.
(f) Wildlife held under the authority of a permit issued under this subchapter shall not be commingled with domestic pets, livestock, exotic livestock, exotic fowl, or non-indigenous wildlife.
(g) A permittee shall conduct rehabilitation in an environment which minimizes human contact and prevents human and domestic animal imprinting or bonding.
(h) Except for permitted educational purposes, wildlife possessed under a rehabilitation permit shall not come in contact with anyone other than the permittee and/or subpermittees, volunteers, licensed veterinarians, or the staff of licensed veterinarians.
(i) A permittee shall not allow the viewing, exhibit, or display to the public of animals possessed under a rehabilitation permit unless specifically authorized by permit provision.
(j) A permittee shall not conduct activities governed under this subchapter on the same property as a fur-bearing animal propagation facility or deer breeding facility unless specifically authorized in writing by the department.
(k) Non-releasable wildlife shall be euthanized except as provided by this subsection.
(1) Permission to retain non-releasable wildlife may be granted only to permittees who have at least three years' experience as a permitted wildlife rehabilitator.
(2) The department may permit the retention of non-releasable wildlife for approved educational, fostering, or socialization purposes, or for transfer to zoological, scientific, or educational permittees. Requests must be made in writing to the department and no transfer shall take place until the department has approved the request. A request to retain non-releasable wildlife under this subsection shall include a statement from a licensed veterinarian that the animal is non-releasable and the reasons why the animal is non-releasable. The department will not authorize the retention of an animal that because of a disease or condition poses a danger to humans, other animals, or itself.
(l) Permittees possessing non-releasable raptors shall band the raptors with markers supplied by the department.
(m) Wildlife rehabilitation of white-tailed deer and mule deer is restricted to fawns only. No permittee or subpermittee may accept or possess a white-tailed or mule deer that is in adult pelage (no spots). All white-tailed or mule deer received by a permittee shall immediately be identified by the attachment to the pinna of either ear of:
(1) a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) button tag approved by the department; and
(2) a "dangle" type tag bearing the unique identifier assigned to the deer by the department.
(3) The RFID tag required by this subsection must have an associated 15-digit animal identification number conforming to the 840 standards of the United States Department of Agriculture, which number shall be reported to the department in accordance with the applicable provisions of §65.92 of this title (relating to Reports and Recordkeeping).
(4) It is an offense for any person to remove or allow the removal of a tag required by this subsection from a living white-tailed or mule deer.
(5) A permittee or subpermittee who transfers a white-tailed or mule deer shall notify the administrator of the wildlife rehabilitation program at least 24 hours but not more than 48 hours prior to and following the completion of the transfer.
(6) Deer must be released, transferred, or euthanized by the end of the calendar year in which they were born or at the time they grow adult pelage, whichever occurs first.
(7) The department may require any deer held under a permit issued under this subchapter to be tested for chronic wasting disease.
(n) All medical treatment, including vaccinations, shall be performed in consultation with a licensed veterinarian and in accordance with all applicable laws regarding extra-label use of medications and biologicals.
(o) Euthanized wildlife and wildlife that has died while under the care of a permittee shall be:
(1) transferred to a person authorized by law to receive such wildlife;
(2) disposed of in a Type 1 landfill; or
(3) interred or incinerated onsite in compliance with any applicable local, state, or federal law regarding animal carcass burial or disposal.
(4) Open-pit disposal and burn-pile incineration are prohibited.
(p) This subchapter does not apply to department personnel, or transport by animal control officers or peace officers in the performance of official duties.
(q) The department may temporarily waive any provision of this subchapter during a wildlife health crisis.
(r) The department may designate a manual process in lieu of any electronic application requirement of this subchapter if for whatever reason the electronic application is unavailable.
Source: The provisions of this §69.44 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) Except as may be otherwise provided by this subchapter, no person may possess wildlife for purposes of rehabilitation unless the person possesses a valid permit issued under the provisions of this subchapter.
(b) Except as otherwise provided under Chapter 65, Subchapter B, of this title (relating to Disease Detection and Response), licensed veterinarians may hold, possess, and transport wildlife to provide emergency medical care or stabilization care until they are stabilized and able to be transferred, at which time the wildlife must be transferred to a permitted rehabilitator.
(c) A person may possess protected wildlife for rehabilitation purposes at a satellite facility, provided:
(1) the person is listed as a subpermittee on the valid permit of a supervisory permittee and possesses a copy of the valid permit at the satellite facility;
(A) the supervisory permittee has registered the facility with the department;
(B) the facility is in compliance with the facility standards set forth in §69.49 of this title (relating to General Facilities Standards) and any additional standards or requirements set forth in the permit provisions of the supervisory permittee; and
(C) the subpermittee engages only in the rehabilitation activities authorized by the department to be undertaken at the satellite facility, including but not limited to restrictions on numbers and kinds of animals, life stages, and any other restrictions deemed necessary by the department.
(2) A permittee who registers a satellite facility with the department shall be responsible for the conduct of the subpermittee at the satellite facility with respect to all activities governed under this subchapter and applicable permit provisions and shall visit each satellite facility no less frequently than once per 120 days to verify that the satellite facility is compliant with the provisions of this subchapter and applicable permit provisions. The department may prescribe alternatives to physical visitation for permittees with a demonstrated history of compliance.
(3) The department will not authorize the registration of more than one satellite facility per subpermittee.
(4) No person may be a subpermittee for more than one permittee.
(d) No permittee shall change facility location or receive unauthorized species, or conduct unauthorized activities unless the permittee possesses an amended permit authorizing such activity.
(e) Permits issued under this section may be issued for any period of time not exceeding three years from the date of issuance.
Source: The provisions of this §69.45 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) An applicant for a permit under this subchapter must be at least 18 years of age.
(b) Applications shall be made on forms supplied or approved by the department. Incomplete applications will not be processed.
(c) Applications must be accompanied by:
(1) a copy of the certificate of completion, within the preceding three years, of a training course offered by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition, the National Wildlife Rehabilitator's Association, or other organization or entity approved by the department;
(2) a letter of recommendation from a licensed veterinarian and/or permitted wildlife rehabilitator with at least three years' experience as a permitted wildlife rehabilitator who has known the applicant for at least two years; and
(3) a test score of 100 on a department-administered wildlife rehabilitation examination.
(d) Permits for the taking or holding of federally protected species shall not be valid unless the permittee also possesses a valid federal permit authorizing possession of those species.
(e) Except for persons authorized to do so under the terms of zoological permits, no person holding a permit authorizing the propagation for sale of wildlife shall be authorized to rehabilitate those species.
Source: The provisions of this §69.46 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective April 4, 2005, 30 TexReg 1953; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) The department may refuse permit issuance or renewal to any person who has been finally convicted of, pleaded nolo contendere to, or received deferred adjudication or been assessed an administrative penalty for a violation of:
(1) Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43;
(2) a provision of the Parks and Wildlife Code that is punishable as a Class A or B Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor, a Parks and Wildlife Code state jail felony, or a Parks and Wildlife Code felony; or
(3) the Lacey Act (16 U.S.C. §§3371-3378).
(b) The department may prohibit any person from acting as an agent of any permittee if the person has been convicted of, pleaded nolo contendere to, received deferred adjudication, or assessed an administrative penalty for an offense listed in subsection (a) of this section.
(c) The department may refuse to issue a permit to any person the department has evidence is acting on behalf of or as a surrogate for another person who is prohibited by the provisions of this section from engaging in permitted activities.
(d) The department may refuse to issue or renew a permit to any person who is not in compliance with applicable reporting or recordkeeping requirements.
(e) An applicant for a permit or permit renewal may request a review of a decision of the department to refuse issuance of a permit or permit renewal (as applicable).
(f) An applicant seeking review of a decision of the department with respect to permit issuance must request the review within 10 working days of being notified by the department that the application for a permit or permit renewal has been denied.
(1) Within 10 working days of receiving a request for review under this section, the department shall establish a date and time for the review.
(2) The department shall conduct the review within 30 days of receipt of the request required by subsection (g) of this section, unless another date is established in writing by mutual agreement between the department and the requestor.
(3) The request for review shall be presented to a review panel. The review panel shall consist of three department managers with expertise in the subject of the permit, appointed or approved by the executive director, or designee.
(4) The decision of the review panel is final.
Source: The provisions of this §69.47 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective April 23, 2001, 26 TexReg 3025; amended to be effective September 19, 2019, 44 TexReg 5402; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) Renewal applications shall be made on a form provided by the department and shall be submitted with the annual report required by §69.52 of this title (relating to Reports) by no later than January 15 of each year.
(b) Renewal applications shall not be processed until the department has received all reports required by §69.52 of this title accompanied by evidence of at least one of the following:
(1) completion of a training course offered by the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition, the National Wildlife Rehabilitator's Association, or other department-approved organization or entity within the preceding three years;
(2) a current Wildlife Rehabilitator Certification provided by International Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition; or
(3) attendance at a national wildlife rehabilitators conference within the preceding three years.
(c) The department may deny a renewal as provided in §69.47 of this title (relating to Refusal of Permit Issuance or Renewal; Review).
Source: The provisions of this §69.48 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) All facilities shall be subject to inspections by the department. A first-time applicant's facilities shall be inspected by the department and no permit shall be issued until the facilities are determined to satisfy all of the applicable facilities standards of this subchapter.
(1) The department may specify individual caging requirements on a case-by-case basis.
(2) Clean water shall be available at all times except where medical circumstances require the temporary denial of water.
(3) Feces and waste materials shall be removed on a daily basis except for species which normally re-ingest fecal material.
(4) Cages shall be cleaned and disinfected using non-irritating methods.
(5) A person authorized by permit shall observe and provide care for wildlife at least once daily unless otherwise specified by the permit.
(b) White-tailed deer and mule deer held under a permit issued under this subchapter shall be confined at all times within a department-approved enclosure (indoor, outdoor, or both) that is constructed in such a fashion as to prevent both escape and contact with other deer or susceptible species as defined in Chapter 65, Subchapter B, of this title (relating to Disease Detection and Response). The department will not authorize the rehabilitation of deer by a permittee if the permittee's facility is not in compliance with this subsection.
Source: The provisions of this §69.49 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) Except as provided by federal law, Chapter 65, Subchapter B of this title, or a provision of state law, a permit issued under this subchapter authorizes the permittee to transfer wildlife to:
(1) other wildlife rehabilitators legally permitted to hold that species in Texas; or
(2) wildlife rehabilitators permitted in other states, provided a letter of authorization from the department has been obtained prior to the transfer.
(b) The transfer to or receipt of white-tailed or mule deer from another state is prohibited.
Source: The provisions of this §69.50 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) A permittee shall release all wildlife capable of surviving in the wild in accordance with the provisions of this section, unless specifically authorized in writing by the department to do otherwise.
(b) A permittee shall not release, or cause or allow the release of wildlife in such a manner or at such a location so that the released animals are likely to become a nuisance, a disease threat, or a depredation threat.
(c) Except as specifically authorized in writing by the department, releases shall not be made in or to fenced or enclosed areas that prevent the animal from leaving at will.
(d) Wildlife shall be released only to habitat appropriate for the species.
(e) No person may release or allow the release of white-tailed deer or mule deer held under the provisions of this subchapter unless the release site is either:
(1) within five miles of the location where the deer was discovered prior to intake; or
(2) within the county where the deer was discovered prior to intake.
(f) Permittees may not release wildlife on department property without the permission of the department.
(g) A permittee commits an offense if the permittee releases or effects the release of wildlife held under the provisions of this subchapter on property without having on their person the written permission of the landowner, lessee, or operator to release the wildlife on that property.
(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to exempt any person from any applicable provision of local, state, or federal law.
Source: The provisions of this §69.51 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective April 23, 2001, 26 TexReg 3025; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
(a) Each permittee and each subpermittee who operates a satellite facility shall maintain, on a form provided or approved by the department:
(1) a daily log of all animals acquired or received for rehabilitation. The daily log shall, at a minimum, consist of the following:
(A) the species and sex (if possible) of each animal acquired or received;
(B) the date and time that each animal was acquired or received;
(C) the name, address, phone number, and, if possible, an email address for each person from whom an animal is acquired or received;
(D) the approximate or exact geographical location where each animal was found before being acquired or obtained;
(E) a reference identifier assigned to the wildlife;
(F) the RFID tag number assigned to a white-tailed or mule deer; and
(G) final disposition data for each animal, including:
(i) the cause of final disposition;
(ii) the date and time of final disposition; and
(iii) the method and location of disposition, including but not limited to:
(I) GPS coordinates for any release location;
(II) the name, address, phone number, and email address of the landowner of a property where wildlife is released; and
(III) the name, address, phone number, email address, and permit number (if applicable) of any person to whom wildlife is transferred, if wildlife is transferred; and
(2) a daily log of all volunteers who engage in permitted activities at the permittee's facility. The daily volunteer log shall record:
(A) the first and last name of each volunteer;
(B) a valid phone number and email address for each volunteer;
(C) the date the volunteer arrived at the facility;
(D) the time the volunteer arrived at the facility; and
(E) the time the volunteer departed the facility.
(b) Each permittee and each subpermittee who operates a satellite facility shall complete and submit quarterly reports to the administrator of the department's rehabilitation program until the department designates an electronic application for that purpose, at which time the quarterly reports required by this section shall be filed via electronic application. The reports required by this section must be received by the department by January 15, April 15, July 15, and October 15 of each year.
(1) For permittees, the reports shall include the activities conducted at the permittee's registered facility by all individuals listed on the permit, not to include activities conducted by subpermittees at satellite facilities.
(2) For subpermittees who operate a satellite facility, the report shall include the activities conducted at the satellite facility.
(3) The quarterly reports required by this section must be filed even if no permitted activities took place during the quarterly period.
(c) The following shall be retained at the permitted facility and kept available for inspection by the department for a period of two years from generation:
(1) copies of all reports required by this section;
(2) the daily logs required by this section; and
(3) the written landowner permission to release wildlife required under the provisions of 69.51(g) of this title (relating to Release of Rehabilitated Wildlife).
(d) The registrations, reports, and notifications required by this subchapter shall be submitted via email to the administrator of the department's wildlife rehabilitation program until the department designates an electronic application for that purpose, at which time all reports and notifications shall be filed via the electronic application.
Source: The provisions of this §69.52 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902; amended to be effective January 15, 2021, 45 TexReg 306.
The penalties for violations of this subchapter are as prescribed by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter C.
Source: The provisions of this § 69.53 adopted to be effective January 30, 1997, 22 TexReg 902.