Skip to Main Content
my account

Animal Law

A guide to resources available online and in the library on the law surrounding pets and service animals, wild animals, wild game, and livestock.


Note Many pet laws are set at the local level, so be sure to check your city's local ordinances. If you have questions about keeping wild animals or exotic animals as pets, see the Wild Animals page of this guide.

Cruelty to Animals (Non-Livestock)

See the Livestock page of this guide for information related to horses, chickens, cows, and other animals considered to be livestock under the law.

Texas & Federal Laws

Understanding the Law

Regulation of Pets

Dangerous Dogs

Tethering and Unlawful Restraints on Dogs

Local Regulation

Disease Control

Animal Shelters

State laws regarding animal shelters and the adoption of stray animals are sparse. However, many local governments in Texas regulate animal shelters and rescue organizations and set out rules for the re-homing of lost animals. Be sure to check your local ordinances on this topic.

Dog and Cat Breeders

Breeder Regulations

Persons who raise a certain number of dogs and cats for sale may be subject to laws and regulations for professional breeders. Check your city's local ordinances to find out if your area imposes additional regulations.

“Puppy Lemon Law”

Many Texans wonder whether if they purchase a dog from a breeder and the dog becomes sick, do they have a right to a refund? This is sometimes referred to as a "Puppy Lemon Law." While some states have laws specific to this transaction, Texas does not. Below are resources that discuss laws which may be relevant to this situation.

E-Books Available from the State Law Library

This e-book contains information on pet laws. E-books can be viewed by those who have signed up for a free library account with the State Law Library. Only Texas residents are eligible to sign up. Signing up is free.

Books at the State Law Library

This print book at the State Law Library contains information on pet laws. If you are not able to visit the State Law Library in Austin, this book might be available at a law library near you or a public library near you.

Who Can I Contact?