Local Ordinances on Exotic Animals

Since the state of Texas abandoned regulatory authority over exotic animals in 1997, cities and counties have been left to enact their own ordinances, although some municipalities are unaware that the state no longer regulates the industry.

A database maintained by the Animal Protection Institute shows 36 cities and counties in Texas with ordinances that prohibit or strictly regulate the private possession of certain exotic animals. The Animal Protection Institute cautions, however, that its data-collecting activity is in progress and many municipalities may still be missing from the list, available at www.api4animals.org under the "issues and campaigns" section of the API's Web site.

While Travis County has no such ordinance, here's a summary of the city of Austin's ordinance:

"It shall be unlawful for any person to keep, raise, harbor, use, possess or have on his premises or under his control or attempted control any dangerous animals. A dangerous animal is any wild or feral mammal or reptile which by its nature or breeding has the capability of inflicting serious bodily injury to humans."

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