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Texas Dog Fighting Law

Updated on August 18, 2014

Dogfighting: Cruelty in the Heart of Texas

Despite being illegal in every state, dog fighting continues to be a problem in this country. To remedy the problem, many states have begun increasing the penalties for dog fighting from a misdemeanor to a felony. In 2007, Texas passed an amendment to Penal Code Section 42.10 which increased the punishment for dog fighting from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony. The amendment also increased the penalty for attending a dog fighting event from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor. Offenses under Texas Penal Code 42.10 now include intentionally or knowingly committing the following:

State Jail Felonies

  • causing a dog to fight with another dog
  • participating in the earnings of a facility used for dog fighting
  • operating a facility used for dog fighting
  • using or permitting another to use any real estate, building, room, tent, arena, or other property for dog fighting

Class A Misdemeanors

  • owning or possessing dog-fighting equipment
  • owning or training a dog with the intent to use that dog in a fight
  • attending a dog fight as a spectator

Although increasing penalties does help with deterrence, it does not address the underlying issue—enforcement. Dog fighting is rarely done out in the open so locating dog fighting rings is almost impossible. Law enforcement officials need additional tools and resources to locate these secretive groups.

Another feature missing from most current dog fighting laws is a program which raises public awareness about animal abuse and dog fighting. Much like the bullying awareness programs sweeping the nation, we need a similar program for animal abuse awareness. People must be taught, at a young age, the proper way to care for a pet and learn the ethical way to interact with animals. An educational program which teaches children the responsibility we have to animals is our best hope for truly ending dog fighting and animal cruelty in this country.


The information in this article is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create, and viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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