If you’ve been charged with animal cruelty, it’s important to know what your options are. At PCS Bail Bonds, we can help you get out of jail as you await your trail date, which means you can get back to your normal life sooner than later.
Here’s what you need to know about animal cruelty in Texas.
What Is Texas Animal Cruelty?
Under the Texas Penal Code, Section 42.09, a person can commit animal cruelty if they intentionally or knowingly:
- Torture a livestock animal
- Fail unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, or care for a livestock animal in the person\’s custody
- Unreasonably abandon a livestock animal in the person\’s custody
- Transport or confine a livestock animal in a cruel and unusual manner
- Administer 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
- Cause one livestock animal to fight with another livestock animal or with an animal
- Use a live livestock animal as a lure in dog race training or in dog coursing on a racetrack
- Trip a horse
- Seriously overwork a livestock animal
But that’s not all. Section 42.10 of the Texas Penal code specifically talks about dogfighting. It is an offense. Anyone considered a spectator, participating, and engaged in operation of a dog fighting facility could face criminal charges.
Cockfighting has also deemed a crime of animal cruelty in Texas.
Animal cruelty criminal laws only apply to domesticated animals. For example, livestock or a pet. For wild animals like deer, pigeon, rabbit and others, criminal law may not apply, only civil laws could be applicable.
Animal Cruelty Laws in Texas
In Texas, there are essentially two types of laws that protect animals: civil laws and criminal laws. In both of these cases, the laws surrounding animal cruelty in Texas are similar; however, the consequences can be very different.
In a civil animal cruelty case, the judge is the deciding factor. If their ruling states that an individual was engaged in animal cruelty, the animal could be taken away and/or there could be fines for the defendant.
In a criminal animal cruelty case, an individual could face several years in jail if they intentionally abuse or torture an animal or fail to provide sufficient food, water, and shelter to the animal. Also, for those who are under the age of majority, they may be required to go to counselling.
Consequences for Animal Cruelty in Texas
If you are convicted of animal cruelty in Texas, the punishments could vary on a case-by-case bases. However, there’s one thing to remember: Loco’s Law.
In 2001, Texas legislators made animal cruelty a felony that is punishable by a $10,000 fine and jail time of up to two years. Prior to the Loco’s Law, animal cruelty wasn’t deemed a felony. Now, convictions for animal cruelty in Texas could be considered either a misdemeanor or a felony.
For example, cockfighting is a felony that comes with jail time of up to two years in state jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Being involved in unsafe transportation of an animal, neglecting to provide food and water, or exhausting an animal by overworking them could be considered a Class A misdemeanor charge in Texas. This comes with a fine as high as $4,000 and one year in jai. If an individual is a repeat offender, the misdemeanor could be upgraded to a felony. With this, an individual could face jail time from 180 days up to two years and fines as high as $10,000.
For serious offenses like killing or torturing a domesticated animal, an individual could be charged with a felony right away. Repeat offenders could also be convicted of a third-degree felony, and this comes with jail time ranging between two and 10 years, and fines of up to $10,000.
The Difference between Animal Neglect and Animal Abuse
While animal neglect and animal abuse in Texas are both a form of animal cruelty, there are some key differences that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Animal neglect, at its core, is when an individual fails to provide food, water, or shelter to a domesticated animal. It could also be considered neglect if an individual abandons an animal.
Animal abuse, on the other hand, is when a domesticated animal is intentionally tortured, confined in a cruel way, killed, poisoned, or seriously injured. Also, if the animal is used intentionally for fighting, that could be considered abuse.
Animal neglect and animal abuse have different penalties.
Arrested for Animal Cruelty in Texas? PCS Bail Bonds Can Help
At PCS Bail Bonds, we have helped many clients facing animal cruelty charges in Texas. We know that forming a strong defense is important and that can only be done once you are out of jail.
We have 25+ years of experience in getting people out of jail for offenses such as theft, drug possession, embezzlement, traffic violations, assault, and more. We are available 24/7 for bail bondsman services in Fort Worth/Tarrant County, we offer 10% lower fees, and we provide complete confidentiality to our clients.
Contact us today to book a free consultation or simply call us at 817-335-1655. Se Habla Español.
If you feel that you need to talk to us in person, feel free to stop by at any of our two convenient locations. There’s no need to book at an appointment. We welcome walk-ins. Also, there’s plenty of parking around these locations if you are driving.