How Many Dogs and Cats Can You Have in Texas?


In the State of Texas, there is no statewide pet law that limits the number of dogs and cats you can have in your house. Though the Lone Star State will allow as many pets as you’re able to care for, many pet ownership laws are set at the local level. In other words, individual towns and cities do have their own laws regarding how many pets one can have in their house.

A cute cat

How many dogs or cats are allowed at one residence in Texas?

As mentioned earlier, Texas does not have a statewide law regulating how many dogs and cats an individual can have in his or her house. However, it does allow individual towns and cities to set their own rules. With that in mind, individual municipalities tend to limit the number of dogs and cats you can own to three or six per household. For instance, the city of Mansfield, located mostly in Tarrant county, sets the limit at four dogs or four cats per household. In addition, you are not allowed to have a combined total of 6 such pets over the age of eight weeks in Mansfield.

The city of Deer Park, on the other hand, allows a total of three dogs or cats at one residence. That means you can own 2 dogs and 1 cat or 2 cats and 1 dog, but you are not allowed to have more than a total of three.

A cute dog

That said, let's take a look at pet ownership laws in some Texas cities and towns.

Pet Ownership Limitations in Dallas

When it comes to the number of dogs and cats allowed in each residence, the city of Dallas has limits. In addition, pet ownership limits may also depend on your housing arrangement. For example, If you live in an apartment where your wall touches another family's wall, you are not allowed to own more than a total of 4 dogs or cats. 

However, the limit is 6 dogs or cats for single-family homes on less than half an acre and 8 dogs or cats for single-family homes on more than half an acre in Dallas. Just so you know, puppies or kittens under six months of age are not included in these limits. Neither are feral cats in a registered feral cat colony.

Pet Ownership Limitations in Houston

In the city of Houston, it is illegal for any person to have more than 4 dogs or 4 cats or any combination of such pets upon or within any premises owned, or occupied. Furthermore, the city does not allow the ownership of more than 2 dogs or 2 cats or any combination of such pets within any apartment of a multiple-dwelling structure. In addition, the city gives property directors full authority to limit the number of dogs, cats, and any other pets per apartment.

Pet Ownership Limitations in San Antonio

In the city of San Antonio, you are allowed to own five dogs or eight cats, or a total of eight at your residence. But if you wish to own more than a limited number, you can apply for and obtain an excess animal permit. The permit is however valid for one year. However, the owner shall ensure that the pets (except cats) do not roam or run unrestrained. Other criteria used to evaluate the issuing of the permit include your dogs and cats:

  • Being currently vaccinated for rabies
  • Having a registered microchip
  • Not being housed exclusively outside
  • Having access to their own shelter when housed outside
  • Being sterilized

Pet Ownership Limitations in Austin

The city of Austin limits the ownership of dogs and cats to four per household. This means that a person is not allowed to have six or more dogs and cats, excluding puppies and kitties less than six months old, in their home, unless the pets (except cats) are kept in an enclosure that meets the city's requirements.

Fun fact: According to a Statesman report, there are approximately 7.2 million dogs in Texas, with 193,600 dogs in the city of Austin alone.

Penalties for violating pet ownership laws in Texas

The severity of penalties for violating pet ownership laws in Texas depends on the situation. The state insists that animal hoarders be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. And probation is often preferable to incarceration because the defendants can be strictly monitored. In other cities, such as Irving, you can pay a fine of up to $2,000 for violating leash laws. 

Generally, pet owners will be held responsible for any damage caused by their pets. For instance, an owner whose dog injures others can face a felony in the third-degree charge. Moreover, it is illegal to abandon your pet in Texas. Doing so is considered a criminal offense for which you get get a misdemeanor or a felony.

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