Felony Offenses in the Texas Penal Code

Austin Criminal Lawyer


Federal Defense Attorney

Texas Penal Code, Section 42.09 - Cruelty to Animals

CHAPTER 42. DISORDERLY CONDUCT AND RELATED OFFENSES

        § 42.09.  CRUELTY TO ANIMALS.

(a)  A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(1)  tortures a livestock animal;

(2)  fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, or care for a livestock animal in the person's custody;

(3)  abandons unreasonably a livestock animal in the person's custody;

(4)  transports or confines a livestock animal in a cruel and unusual manner;

(5)  administers poison to a livestock animal, other than cattle, horses, sheep, swine, or goats, belonging to another without legal authority or the owner's effective consent;

(6)  causes one livestock animal to fight with another livestock animal or with an animal as defined by Section 42.092;

(7)  uses a live livestock animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack;

(8)  trips a horse; or

(9)  seriously overworks a livestock animal.

(b)  In this section:

(1)  "Abandon" includes abandoning a livestock animal in the person's custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person.

(2)   "Cruel manner" includes a manner that causes or permits  unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.

(3)  "Custody" includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of a livestock animal subject to the person's care and control, regardless of ownership of the livestock animal.

(4)  "Depredation" has the meaning assigned by Section 71.001, Parks and Wildlife Code.

(5)  "Livestock animal" means:

(A)  cattle, sheep, swine, goats, ratites, or poultry commonly raised for human consumption;

(B)  a horse, pony, mule, donkey, or hinny;

(C)  native or nonnative hoofstock raised under agriculture practices; or

(D)  native or nonnative fowl commonly raised under agricultural practices.

(6)  "Necessary food, water, or care" includes food, water, or care provided to the extent required to maintain the livestock animal in a state of good health.

(7)  "Torture" includes any act that causes unjustifiable pain or suffering.

(8)  "Trip" means to use an object to cause a horse to fall or lose its balance.

(c)  An offense under Subsection (a)(2), (3), (4), or (9) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.092, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.092.  An offense under Subsection (a)(1), (5), (6), (7), or (8) is a state jail felony, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the person has previously been convicted two times under this section, two times under Section 42.092, or one time under this section and one time under Section 42.092.

(d)  It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(8) that the actor tripped the horse for the purpose of identifying the ownership of the horse or giving veterinary care to the horse.

(e)  It is a defense to prosecution for an offense under this section that the actor was engaged in bona fide experimentation for scientific research.

(f)  It is an exception to the application of this section that the conduct engaged in by the actor is a generally accepted and otherwise lawful:

(1)  form of conduct occurring solely for the purpose of or in support of:

(A)  fishing, hunting, or trapping; or

(B)  wildlife management, wildlife or depredation control, or shooting preserve practices as regulated by state and federal law; or

(2)  animal husbandry or agriculture practice involving livestock animals.

(g)  This section does not create a civil cause of action for damages or enforcement of this section.


Acts 1973, 63rd Leg., p. 883, ch. 399, Sec. 1, eff. Jan. 1, 1974. Amended by Acts 1975, 64th Leg., p. 917, ch. 342, Sec. 12, eff. Sept. 1, 1975; Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 549, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985; Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 78, Sec. 1, eff. Aug. 26, 1991. Renumbered from Penal Code Sec. 42.11 and amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 900, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 1994. Amended by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 318, Sec. 15, eff. Sept. 1, 1995; Acts 1997, 75th Leg., ch. 1283, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 54, Sec. 3, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 450, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001; Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 1275, Sec. 2(116), eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 886, Sec. 1, eff. September 1, 2007.

NOTE: This information is NOT LEGAL ADVICE. It is provided for EDUCATIONAL USE ONLY. If you need legal advice regarding a criminal matter in the state of Texas, please contact us at (512) 478-0758 or fill out a brief case questionnaire.