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Laws Regarding "Town Dogs"
Sandy Whittley
Secretary, TexasSheep & Goat Raisers Association

Ed note: Texas remains an agriculture oriented state even considering the number of "furiners" living in the crowded metropolitan areas. The following is excerpted from an article by the same name published in the June, 2001, issue of Ranch & Rural Living. As always, consult your local authorities before taking any action that might be objectionable to certain segments of our population.

Over the last few months, I have had a lot of calls regarding killings by "town dogs" or dogs that have been allowed to run loose. Following the latest call it was suggested that I include the "Dog Law" in my article.


Health & Safety Code, Section 822.033. Dogs That Attack Domestic Animals

   (a) A dog that is attacking, is about to attack, or has recently attacked sheep, goats, calves, or other domestic animals or fowls may be killed by any person witnessing or having knowledge of the attack.

   (b) A person who kills a dog as provided by this section is not liable for damages to the owner of the dog.

   (c) A dog known or suspected of having killed sheep, goats, calves, or other domestic animals or fowls is a public nuisance. Any person may detain or impound the dog until the dog's owner is notified and all damage done by the dog has been determined and paid to the proper persons.

   (d) The owner of a dog that is known to have attacked sheep, goats, calves, or other domestic animals or fowls shall kill the dog. A sheriff, deputy sheriff, constable, police officer, magistrate, or county commissioner may enter the premises of the owner of the dog and kill the dog if the owner fails to do so.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.


822.011. Certain Dogs Prohibited From Running at Large; Criminal Penalty

   (a) The owner, keeper, or person in control of a dog that the owner, keeper, or person knows is accustomed to run, worry, or kill goats, sheep, or poultry may not permit the dog to run at large.

   (b) A person who violates this section commits an offense. An offense under this subsection is punishable by a fine of not more than $100.

   (c) Each time a dog runs at large in violation of this section constitutes a separate offense.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

When Senator Bill Sims was in office he sponsored the legislation to get some teeth put into the bill that was then on the books. The sections given above came about as a result of his action.

Ed note: The following information extracted from SUBCHAPTER in addition to that provided by Ms Whittley)

Section 822.034. Protection of Domestic Animals

The owner of any sheep, goats, calves, or other domestic animals that are subject to the ravages of sheep-killing dogs may place poison on the premises where the animals are kept. The owner must post notice of the poison at each entrance to the premises before placing the poison.

Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Thanks to Ms Whittley for allowing to re-publish this article. Perhaps, now, we can relax our philosophy of "Shoot, Shovel, Silence"... At least in Texas.

For further information on this subject consult

Ms Whittley may be contacted via e-mail at the TS&GRA office - or visit the TS&GRA web site at



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