Century Animal Hospital

801 East William Cannon Drive Suite 220
Austin, TX 78745



It's the Law! Laws for You and Your Pet in Austin, Texas

The following State of Texas, Travis County, and City of Austin laws and ordinances apply to you and your new pet. You can face criminal or civil penalties or the loss of your pet for noncompliance!

Rabies Vaccinations

- Owners of dogs and cats must have them vaccinated against rabies once they reach three months of age, then again in one year. After that, your pet must be vaccinated every one to three years depending on the type of vaccination used.

Anti-Chaining Ordinance

- An owner may not leave a dog outside and unattended by use of a chain or tether unless the person is holding the chain or tether.

Outdoor Enclosures

If you keep your dog primarily in an outdoor enclosure, the enclosure must be a minimum of 150 square feet for each dog six months or older.

"Dangerous Dogs"

- A "Dangerous Dog" is a dog that has been declared "Dangerous" by a Hearing Officer as a result of an unprovoked attack on a person that causes bodily injury.

- A court may order your dog destroyed if it causes serious bodily injury to a person. 

- If you own dog that is declared a "Dangerous Dog" you are required by law to

  • Register the dog with local animal control (Austin Animal Centerin Austin) 
  • Attach the dangerous dog tag provided to your dog's collar 
  • Restrain the dog at all times on a leash  
  • Obtain liability coverage or show personal responsibility in an amount of at least $100,000 to cover any damages resulting from an attack

Cruelty to Animals

-The cruel treatment of animals is illegal under Texas law. 

- The following actions are considered "cruel" under the law:

  • Torturing an animal  
  • Killing, seriously injuring, or poisoning an animal  
  • Failing to provide food, care or shelter to an animal in your custody  
  • Abandoning an animal  
  • Transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner  
  • Causing an animal to fight with another animal  
  • Using alive animal as a lure in dog race training  
  • Overworking an animal Dog Fighting

It is illegal to fight a dog with another dog or to participate in any of the following activities associated with dog fighting:

  • Participate in the earnings of or operate a facility used for dogfighting. 
  • Use or permit another to use your property for dogfighting.  
  • Own or train a dog with the intent that the dog be used in dogfighting. 
  • Attend a dogfight as a spectator.

Unrestrained Dogs Prohibited

-Your dog must be restrained at all times in public except in approved off-leash dog parks (a list is provided here: http://www.austintexas.gov/department/leash- areas).

Safety of Animals in Motor Vehicles

-You may not leave your dog or cat in a motor vehicle in which the animal is endangered by high or low temperature or inadequate ventilation.

-You may not transport your animal in a motor vehicle unless:

  • The animal is safely enclosed within the vehicle; or if the animal is transported in an unenclosed vehicle, such as a pick-up truck, the animal must be confined in a secure and appropriately sized vented container or confined in a manner that prevents the animal from falling or jumping from the vehicle or otherwise being injured.

Canine Defecation Guidelines

-You must promptly remove and dispose of feces left by your dog on public or private property.

Surrendering Your Dog or Cat 

Austin's new status as a "No Kill" city does not mean that Austin Animal Center no longer euthanizes dogs and cats. 

- Dogs and cats picked up as strays may be euthanized in 72 hours (3 days). 

- If you surrender your pet to the shelter:

  • You immediately lose all ownership rights to your pet. 
  • The shelter may euthanize your animal. There is no holding period for an owner surrender, so your pet could be immediately euthanized.

Courtesy of the Austin Bar Association Animal Welfare Committee