We Texans love our pets. Each pet is an important part of the family, and we’ll do anything for them. The pet laws in Texas reflect this, with a huge focus on anti-cruelty measures and access for service animals
As a pet owner, you should know the ins-and-outs of some of these laws. To help you come to terms with all you need to know, here are some of the most significant Texas pet laws.
Anti-cruelty laws in Texas
Since you are a pet lover, you may think that there is no need to know about anti-cruelty laws in Texas. After all, you’re providing everything your pet needs and would never knowingly harm them.
However, as a responsible pet owner, you should be aware of anti-cruelty laws so that you can report any suspicious situations. If you see a neighbor or local business treating their animals in a way that seems cruel, you need to know which laws they may be crossing.
The following are all included in Texas anti-cruelty laws:
- Torturing an animal: what constitutes torture is up for interpretation, but if you see someone purposefully hurting an animal, make an anonymous report to the SPCA.
- Neglect: if a neighbor is not feeding, sheltering, or caring for their animal, they are contravening anti-cruelty laws.
- Killing or poisoning an animal.
- Transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner: again, this is up for interpretation. Follow your instincts.
- Using an animal in a fight.
- Using a live animal as a lure in a dog race.
- Tripping a horse.
- Abandoning a pet.
When you see someone treating an animal in a cruel way but are not sure whether they are contravening the above laws, it is worth reporting them. The SPCA will do a thorough investigation, and they have the precedents to determine what constitutes cruelty.
It is important to note that in Texas, circus animals and wild animals are not protected by anti-cruelty laws.
In Texas, a dog or miniature horse can be designated as a service animal for just about any disability, whether physical, intellectual, developmental, or mental. However, emotional support animals, which provide comfort but are not trained to help with a disability, are not considered service animals.
When an animal is designated as a service animal, public and private institutions are required to accommodate their presence. Someone with a service animal cannot be denied public transport or accommodation. Landlords cannot charge an extra pet fee to accommodate a service animal.
That does not, however, mean that damage caused by service animals is disregarded by Texas law. If a service animal does damage to property or vehicles, the owner of the animal is required to recompense the individual whose property was damaged.
Texas Pet Insurance laws
Pet insurance in Texas is recommended but not required. There are a number of dangers to pets living in Texas, from coyotes to snakes to toxic plants. There are also the regular dangers pets everywhere face – traffic, illness, and accidents.
Without pet insurance, pet owners struggle to pay the mammoth vet fees charged in America in 2021. Although you will still have copayments and deductibles if you have pet insurance, you’ll avoid having to pay out thousands of dollars for an emergency vet visit. These emergency visits and surgical procedures can cost so much that pet owners have to take out loans to cover them.
You’re not just going to let your pet suffer – it is illegal, but you would do anything for them regardless. You simply have no choice but to pay the vet fees. Insurance is not perfect, but is a necessity. In the same way that you would not go without health insurance for yourself, your pet should not go without insurance.
Texas pet laws are comprehensive, in that they protect pets from cruelty and pet owners from arbitrary restrictions. If you see someone hurting an animal in a way that contravenes anti-cruelty laws, you can report them to the SPCA. If you have a service animal, establishments are required to accommodate your needs. Texas is a great place to own pets, and the laws reflect this.