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Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals

The Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals crime in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you torture, injure, kill, abandon, neglect, treat in a cruel manner, or seriously overwork an animal. You can also be arrested if cause one animal to fight another. Learn more detailed information about the Cruelty to No livestock Animals offense below.

In conjunction with the creation of the new offense of Bestiality, the 85th Texas Legislature enhanced penalties for Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals.1 Learn more about the new penalty structure below.

Have you been charged with Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals? Call criminal lawyer Paul Saputo at (888) 239-9305.

Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 9 “Offenses Against Public Order And Decency”, Chapter 42 “Disorderly Conduct And Related Offenses.”

What is the law in Texas about Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals?

The offense is described in Section 42.092 of the Texas Penal Code.

(b) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(1) tortures an animal or in a cruel manner kills or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;

(2) without the owner’s effective consent, kills, administers poison to, or causes serious bodily injury to an animal;

(3) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter for an animal in the person’s custody;

(4) abandons unreasonably an animal in the person’s custody;

(5) transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner;

(6) without the owner’s effective consent, causes bodily injury to an animal;

(7) causes one animal to fight with another animal, if either animal is not a dog;

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

(9) seriously overworks an animal.

How can I be charged with Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals?

You can be charged with Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 42.092(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment for Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals?

If the offense falls under subsection (b)(3), (4), (5), (6), or (9), then a conviction for Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals is punished by default as a Class A misdemeanor,2 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one years.

However, if the offense falls under one of those subsections, and you have been convicted of this offense or Cruelty to Livestock Animals two or more times, then a conviction for Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals is punished as a State Jail Felony,3 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and state prison time of up to two years.

Effective through September 1, 2017, if the offense falls under subsection (b)(1), (2), (7), or (8), then a conviction for Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals is punished by default as a State Jail Felony,4 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to two years.

But if the offense falls under one of those subsections (effective through September 2017), and you have been convicted of this offense or Cruelty to Livestock Animals two or more times, then a conviction for Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals is punished as a Felony of the Third Degree,5 with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 10 years. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

Effective September 1, 2017, the penalty for a conviction of Cruelty to Nonlivestock Animals under subsections (1) or (2) is a felony of the third degree, except that the offense is a felony of the second degree if the person has previously been convicted under Subsection (b)(1), (2), (7), or (8) or under Section 42.09 (Cruelty to Livestock Animals).6 And a conviction under subsection (b)(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 under this section or under Section 42.09.7


Legal References:

1Senate Bill 762, Section 1, effective September 1, 2017. Also, Senate Bill 1232, Section 3, effective September 1, 2017

2Texas Penal Code Section 42.092(c)

3Texas Penal Code Section 42.092(c)

4Texas Penal Code Section 42.092(c)

5Texas Penal Code Section 42.092(c)

6Penal Code Section Sec. 42.092(c-1), as created by Senate Bill 762, Section 1, effective September 1, 2017

7Penal Code Section Sec. 42.092(c-2), as created by Senate Bill 762, Section 1, effective September 1, 2017

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