What are the Texas exotic animal laws?


Quick Answer

Residents of Texas cannot own exotic, dangerous wild animals without first registering with the Texas Department of Health, according to Born Free USA. Applicants must submit the location where the animals are kept, proof of liability insurance, a photograph of each enclosure and copies of a USDA animal dealer's license if the person has one.

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Full Answer

Born Free USA also states that the Texas Health and Safety Code requires veterinary inspections for each animal within the 30-day period before the renewal process. These certificates are valid for one year unless they are revoked by the state of Texas. Applications are picked up at whichever local animal control office has jurisdiction for the address where the wild animals are kept.

Texas defines "dangerous wild animals" as 20 different types of exotic species including lions, tigers, ocelots, cheetahs, bobcats, jaguars, hyenas, bears, coyotes, chimpanzees, orangutans and baboons. The registration process covers the ownership of these animals by private citizens as opposed to zoos, circuses, aquariums and research laboratories. Born Free USA explains that fees are not more than $50 per animal and $500 per owner, and the fees go towards the enforcement and administration of exotic animal laws in Texas.

In the summary of each state's exotic animal laws, Born Free USA reveals that there are no Texas state regulations for exotic animals that are not specifically listed in the statute, such as monkeys, wolves, reptiles and birds. Where state law is not specific, federal law is assumed to have jurisdiction.

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