Defines 'dangerous wild animal' to include lions, tigers, ocelots, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, bobcats, lynxes, servals, caracals, hyenas, bears, coyotes, jackals, baboons, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and any hybrids thereof. It does not include animals kept in zoos, animal sanctuaries, wildlife preserves, or educational or medical institutions.
Owners of dangerous wild animals must register the animal with the local animal control authority. The registration must include a photograph and description of the animal, the address where the animal is kept, and proof of liability insurance or surety bond.
Owners of dangerous wild animals must ensure the animals have proper housing, care, and restraint. They must also have an escape recovery plan and cannot allow the animal to roam freely. Local authorities may inspect the premises where the animal is kept to ensure compliance.
A person commits an offense if they own a dangerous wild animal without a registration certificate or fail to comply with the standards for keeping such animals. The offense is a Class C misdemeanor, which may result in a fine.
Individuals or businesses that wish to possess, transport, or sell nongame wildlife for commercial purposes must obtain a permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. The department sets regulations regarding the care and treatment of these animals.
This subchapter outlines the species of wild animals that may be possessed under a permit, including their transportation and sale. It also specifies the qualifications required to obtain such a permit and the duties of permit holders.
The Lacey Act makes it unlawful to import, export, sell, acquire, or purchase fish, wildlife, or plants that are taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of U.S. or Indian law, or in interstate or foreign commerce involving any fish, wildlife, or plants taken, possessed, or sold in violation of State or foreign law. The law covers all fish and wildlife and their parts or products, plants protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and those protected by State law. Violations can result in misdemeanor or felony charges, including penalties and forfeiture of the animals and any vessels or vehicles used to transport them.
The Endangered Species Act provides a program for the conservation of threatened and endangered plants and animals and the habitats in which they are found. It prohibits the unauthorized taking, possession, sale, and transport of endangered species. The Act also provides authority to acquire land for the conservation of listed species, using land and water conservation funds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service maintains a list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. The ESA requires permits for any activity that involves the taking of endangered species and has provisions for the issuance of these permits for scientific purposes or to enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species.
The Animal Welfare Act regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for enforcing the AWA. The law requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public. This includes licensing and registration of individuals and entities that fall under these categories, as well as regular inspections to ensure compliance. Exotic animals that are exhibited to the public, such as in zoos or educational exhibits, may fall under the purview of the AWA.
The Wild Bird Conservation Act aims to promote the conservation of exotic bird species by encouraging wild bird conservation and management programs in countries of origin, ensuring that imports of exotic birds into the United States do not harm them. The Act generally restricts the importation of exotic birds covered by the CITES and those that are or may be harmed by trade. Permits may be issued for scientific research, zoological breeding or display, cooperative breeding, and personal pet purposes under strict regulations. The Act also provides for the establishment of a list of approved species that are not subject to import restrictions under certain conditions.
The Captive Wildlife Safety Act amends the Lacey Act to address the growing concern over the safety and welfare of big cats, which are often kept as pets. The Act prohibits the interstate and foreign commerce of any live lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar species, or any hybrid of such species, except by qualified individuals and facilities that are licensed or registered under the Animal Welfare Act. The law is intended to prevent the exploitation and improper private possession of big cats, which can pose a threat to public safety and the welfare of the animals themselves. Exemptions are provided for certain entities, such as wildlife sanctuaries, accredited zoos, and state universities.