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Roger, Lawyer
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Is it illegal to own a savannah cat in Texas?

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Is it illegal to own a savannah cat in Texas?

Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Criminal Law litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.


According to Texas Health and Safety Code § 822.101(4) and § 822.103, the law forbids a savannah cat (a hybrid serval) or any hybrid from being owned without a license. Below are the relevant statutes:


§ 822.101:In this subchapter:

(1) "Animal registration agency" means the municipal or county animal control office with authority over the area where a dangerous wild animal is kept or a county sheriff in an area that does not have an animal control office.

(2) "Board" means the Texas Board of Health.

(3) "Commercial activity" means:

(A) an activity involving a dangerous wild animal conducted for profit that is not inherent to the animal's nature;

(B) an activity for which a fee is charged and that is entertainment using or an exhibition of the animal; or

(C) the selling, trading, bartering, or auctioning of a dangerous wild animal or a dangerous wild animal's body parts.

(4) "Dangerous wild animal" means:

(A) a lion;

(B) a tiger;

(C) an ocelot;

(D) a cougar;

(E) a leopard;

(F) a cheetah;

(G) a jaguar;

(H) a bobcat;

(I) a lynx;

(J) a serval;

(K) a caracal;

(L) a hyena;

(M) a bear;

(N) a coyote;

(O) a jackal;

(P) a baboon;

(Q) a chimpanzee;

(R) an orangutan;

(S) a gorilla; or

(T) any hybrid of an animal listed in this subdivision.

(5) "Owner" means any person who owns, harbors, or has custody or control of a dangerous wild animal.

(6) "Person" means an individual, partnership, corporation, trust, estate, joint stock company, foundation, or association of individuals.

(7) "Primary enclosure" means any structure used to immediately restrict an animal to a limited amount of space, including a cage, pen, run, room, compartment, or hutch.




§ 822.103

(a) A person may not own, harbor, or have custody or control of a dangerous wild animal for any purpose unless the person holds a certificate of registration for that animal issued by an animal registration agency.

(b) A certificate of registration issued under this subchapter is not transferrable and is valid for one year after its date of issuance or renewal unless revoked.

(c) The animal registration agency may establish and charge reasonable fees for application, issuance, and renewal of a certificate of registration in order to recover the costs associated with the administration and enforcement of this subchapter. The fee charged to an applicant may not exceed $50 for each animal registered and may not exceed $500 for each person registering animals, regardless of the number of animals owned by the person. The fees collected under this section may be used only to administer and enforce this subchapter.

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