Section 42.09 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the intentional cruel treatment of animals. Under current Texas Law, cruel treatment of animals is forbidden. The following actions define cruel punishment:
1. Torturing an animal
2. Failing to provide food, care or shelter
3. Abandoning an animal (*see note below)
4. Transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner
5. Killing, seriously injuring or poisoning an animal
6. Causing an animal to fight with another (see info on recently passed Texas Legislature HB 916 here).
7. Using a live animal as a lure in a dog race
8. Tripping a horse
9. Injuring an animal belonging to another person
10. Seriously overworking an animal.
(* Note: Texas law defines abandonment (“dumping”) as the act of abandoning an animal in the person’s custody without making reasonable arrangements for assumption of custody by another person. “Custody” includes responsibility for the health, safety, and welfare of an animal subject to the person’s care and control, regardless of ownership of the animal. When an animal is in a person’s custody, the law states necessary food, care, and shelter must be provided to the extent required to maintain the animal is in a state of good health.)
People who resort to this senseless behavior of abandonment can be punished under the Texas Animal Cruelty Act as a Class A Misdemeanor under Texas Penal Code 42.09 which carries a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail. This offense becomes a state jail felony if the person has been convicted two previous times.