Dog Fighting: Texas Penal Code §42.10

Texas Criminal Law

Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating badge featuring AV logo on left and the Martindale logo on top

The Texas Dog Fighting law gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you caused a dog to fight with another dog, owned a property and allowed dog fighting there, participated in gambling on dog fighting, owned or trained a dog to fight, or attended a dog fight.

The Texas legislature codified this criminal offense in Texas Penal Code Section 42.10. The legislature did not update this law in 2023. In fact, this law has not been amended since 2009.

The Penal Code codifies the Texas Dog Fighting law under Title 9 “Offenses Against Public Order and Decency,” Chapter 42 “Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses.” Learn more about the Texas offense of Dog Fighting below.

What is the current Texas law about Dog Fighting?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Dog Fighting in Penal Code Section §42.10 as follows:[1]

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

(1) causes a dog to fight with another dog;

(2) participates in the earnings of or operates a facility used for dog fighting;

(3) uses or permits another to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for dog fighting;

(4) owns or possesses dog-fighting equipment with the intent that the equipment be used to train a dog for dog fighting or in furtherance of dog fighting;

(5) owns or trains a dog with the intent that the dog be used in an exhibition of dog fighting; or

(6) attends as a spectator an exhibition of dog fighting.

How can I be charged with a Dog Fighting offense in Texas?

You can be charged with Dog Fighting in Texas if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 42.10(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the statute of limitation for Dog Fighting in Texas?

Misdemeanor level Dog Fighting charges have a two-year limitations period.[2] Felony-level offenses have a three-year limitations period.[3]

What is the penalty for a Texas Dog Fighting offense?

If the offense falls under subsection (a)(4), (5) or (6), then a conviction for Dog Fighting in Texas is punished as a Class A misdemeanor,[4] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to 20 years.

If the offense falls under subsection (a)(1), (2) or (3), then a conviction for Dog Fighting in Texas is punished as a State Jail Felony,[5] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and jail time of up to two years. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors here.

Can you get probation for Dog Fighting in Texas?

The Texas Code of Criminal Procedure allows both judges and juries to grant probation for Dog Fighting, and judges are also allowed to accept deferred adjudication plea deals.[6]

Note, however, that judges may not grant community supervision after a conviction if (1) the defendant used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the felony or immediate flight thereafter and (2) the defendant used or exhibited the deadly weapon himself or was a party to the offense and knew that a deadly weapon would be used or exhibited.[7]

What level of crime is Dog Fighting in Texas?

The Penal Code classifies Dog Fighting as either a Class A misdemeanor or state jail felony, depending on the circumstances.

Learn more about the penalty range for this offense in the section above.


^1. Texas Penal Code §42.10. This law is current as of the 88th Legislature Regular Session.^2. Code of Criminal Procedure 12.02(a)^3. See Code of Criminal Procedure 12.01(9)^4. Texas Penal Code §42.10(e)^5. Texas Penal Code §42.10(e)^6. See Chapter 42, Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, Art. 42A.054, Art. 42A.056, Art. 42A.102 .^7. Art. 42A.054(b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure


Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating badge featuring AV logo on left and the Martindale logo on top

Arrested or Charged With a Crime?