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Criminal charges

animal cruelty

Animal cruelty includes a wide range of behaviors that are mistreatment of animals—from neglect (depriving an animal of food, water, shelter, or veterinary care) to torturing, maiming, mutilating, and killing animals. Animal cruelty laws vary from state to state, and are usually included in a state’s statutes.

In Texas, animal cruelty is taken seriously and is addressed under the Texas Penal Code. The law defines cruelty to non-livestock animals to include torture, killing or causing serious bodily injury to an animal without the owner's effective consent, failing to provide necessary food, water, care, or shelter, abandoning an animal, and transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner. The law also prohibits dog fighting and cockfighting. Offenses can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony, depending on the severity of the mistreatment and whether the offender has previous convictions for animal cruelty. Enhanced penalties may apply for repeat offenses or if the cruelty is committed in the presence of a child. Texas also has separate statutes addressing cruelty to livestock and other related offenses.

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