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What Are the Texas Dog Laws?

Dogs are very popular pets and for good reason. They provide companionship and protection, and can even help improve your overall health. There is a major difference between responsible dog owners and irresponsible ones, however, and the consequences can be dire.

To protect these animals and the community at large, Texas imposes some laws and restrictions to promote responsible dog ownership. These laws include limits on the number of dogs owned, penalties for animal cruelty, and liability for owners whose dogs bite other people. 

How Many Dogs Can a Person Legally Own in Texas?

There is no statewide limit on the number of dogs that a person may own in Texas. However, local laws may set their own restrictions. For example, dog owners in Dallas can only own up to six dogs or cats per single-family household. Additionally, an owner may face penalties if he or she owns more animals than he or she can reasonably care for.

What Counts as Animal Cruelty or Neglect?

Texas has strict laws to protect animals from cruelty and neglect. An owner can face civil penalties as well as up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000 if he or she is found to have mistreated a dog. 

According to the Texas Penal Code, the following actions count as animal cruelty:

  • Failing to provide food, care, or shelter
  • Abandoning an animal
  • Overworking an animal
  • Torturing an animal
  • Causing animals to fight each other
  • Killing, injuring, or poisoning an animal
  • Transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner
  • Injuring an animal belonging to another person
  • Leaving a dog outside, unattended, and restrained without access to shelter, food, shade, and water

What Are Texas’s Dog Bite Laws?

When a dog bites a person, serious damage can occur, and the victim may want to pursue legal action. In Texas, owners are liable for a dog bite if the animal has a history of previous bites or aggressive behavior. The victim can then file a lawsuit against the owner and recover financial compensation to pay for medical care, lost wages, and other damages.

In order to recover compensation in the claim, the victim will need to prove that at least one of the following occurred:

  • The dog’s owner knew that the dog had a history of aggressive behavior or had bitten someone in the past.
  • The dog’s owner failed to use reasonable care to control the dog or stop the attack, resulting in the victim’s injury.

Dog Bite Lawyer

What to Do If You Are Bitten by a Dog in Texas

A dog bite can be a scary and life-changing experience. If you are bitten by a dog in Texas, it is important to get to a safe location quickly and perform basic first aid on the wound if possible. Seek emergency medical attention right away—dogs can pass dangerous bacteria when they bite, and you need professional care to avoid potential infections.

If you can, try to gather the animal owner’s name and contact information if you do not know him or her already. Take photographs and videos of the area around the attack and ask any witnesses for their contact details. Then, contact a Texas dog bite attorney right away to discuss your lawsuit and take your first steps toward justice.