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Understanding Exotic Animal Injuries and Your Rights
March 05, 2024

Understanding Exotic Animal Injuries and Your Rights

by Jim Adler

Posted on March 5, 2024

Many Texas cities have leash laws to protect the public from dog bites. But what about dangerous exotic animals like tigers or venomous snakes? While Texas law permits ownership of certain wild animals with a license, their inherent risks pose serious threats.

Tragic Consequences of Lax Exotic Animal Laws

Despite regulations, devastating incidents occur due to exotic pets. Back in 1999, in Yorktown, Texas, a man’s decision to enter a tiger cage with his stepdaughter ended in her tragic death. In Houston, another Texas child lost his arm to a caged tiger. These are stark reminders of the unpredictable nature of wild animals, no matter how ‘tame’ they may seem.

The Hidden Dangers of Exotic Pets

Exotic animals possess instincts honed for survival in the wild – instincts that captivity cannot erase. Even with the best intentions, owners may be ill-equipped to handle their power and potential for aggression. As of 2022, Texas ranks 3rd in exotic animal-related fatalities.

The Humane Society of the United States also reports that keeping wild and exotic animals as pets “threatens public health and safety as well as animal welfare.”

“Wild animals can attack and spread disease, and the average pet owner cannot provide the care they need in captivity,” the Humane Society said. “From tigers to bears to chimpanzees, these are dangerous wild animals—and in some states it’s perfectly legal to keep one as a pet.”

In Texas, the state’s Health and Safety Code holds that: “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.”

Texas laws also holds that: “An owner of a dangerous wild animal shall maintain liability insurance coverage in an amount of not less than $100,000 for each occurrence for liability for damages for destruction of or damage to property and death or bodily injury to a person caused by the dangerous wild animal.”

Additionally, Texas law also states that any person harmed or threatened with harm by a violation of the law’s subchapter “may sue an owner of a dangerous wild animal.”

Texas Law: Balancing Ownership and Public Safety

Texas law recognizes the risks of exotic animals, requiring owners to obtain permits and liability insurance. Victims of attacks have the right to seek legal recourse. However, the question remains: does lax enforcement sufficiently protect the public?

Exotic animal ownership carries immense responsibility. If negligence leads to an injury or death, victims deserve justice. A personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can hold the owner accountable and pursue compensation for the harm caused.

Don’t Face This Alone: Contact Jim Adler & Associates

If you or a loved one has suffered due to an exotic animal incident, don’t hesitate to seek experienced legal counsel. Jim Adler & Associates offers free case evaluations to help you understand your rights and options for pursuing justice.

About Jim Adler

Jim Adler, also known as The Texas Hammer®, is an American trial attorney and owner of Jim Adler & Associates. He has been practicing law in Texas in the area of personal injury for 54 years.

Jim Adler graduated from the University of Texas School of Law where he received his Juris Doctor degree (J.D.) in 1967.

Jim Adler is a member of the State Bar of Texas, American Bar Association (ABA) and American Trial Lawyers Association. He is licensed to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and U.S. District Courts of Texas. Read More

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