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Texas Law Regarding Shooting a Dog


I'm an animal lover, but sometimes things don't go well.  Last week someone's dog attacked my cat and nearly killed him.  Surgery was successful and he survived.  But that brings me to my question:

My cat prowls around the golf course (where I live).  People walk their dogs there.  Some let their dogs off the leash.  One lady is also known for letting her dog chase and attack cats and small dogs.  I did not witness if she was the person in this case or not.  But I want to know what are my rights in any event.

If I see a dog chasing and/or attacking my cat, can I shoot it (in Texas)?

It would be possible that the dog is on my property, but in general let's assume the attack is either on public property or common areas where dogs are required to be on a leash.

I live in Houston, just in case that triggers any local ordinances.   

Again - I don't want to, and do not anticipate having to, shoot any animal.  I'm just trying to find out the law on this.   

Bob Maverick:
This link will likely answer your question concerning Texas state law. I'm not qualified to interpret or explain the details and implications. I suspect civil litigation may be more of an issue than any criminal charges if you kill someone's pet.


See Title 10, Chapter 822, Sub chapter B,  section 822.013 (1)

Best Regards,

Based on my experience...

In addition to legal repercussions you should be prepared to face public harassment.  I know of a case where a man had to kill a dog and many dog lovers protested and harassed him because of it, while no one showed any concern for the victim of a sexual assault case happening in the next courtroom.   

There is so much involved in any shooting these days that it is almost impossible to plan for every contingency.

Based on my current personal experience, if you draw your weapon and/or shoot a dog in a self defense situation you will be arrested, transported, processed and jailed. Here in Texas its virtually


At a minimum, you will be charged with 42.01 "intentionally and knowingly displays a firearm or other deadly weapon in a public place in a manner to calculate alarm."

(yeah, go ahead, try to apply the logic to that. logic has NOTHING to do with it.)

Then you will spend resources, time and stress becoming a guest in various "judicial" settings, your Texas LTC will be suspended, and the final outcome will be based on your ability to fight the

bottomless pockets of the State.

A bit of advice: Justice has absolutely NOTHING to do with it.

so, the old adage "do have have to get bit first" is meaningless. The cops will arrest you regardless (unless you are the governor and your target is a slightly different kind of canine)

Good Luck



I know you are in Texas but a while back I asked a similar question. You never know if a dog is coming to say HI or do harm. I've seen big dogs bite smaller dogs and the same dog run away from a smaller dog. You just cant tell.

You might win the case but it will be very expensive because ASPCA will sue your ass.

I was told to carry a stick, pepper spray, etc where you will NOT do permanent harm but just enough damage to get away.

I know (as a dog owner) it sucks because it takes our best friend to get injured or dead before we can take action..


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