What To Do About Dogs Trespassing On My Property In Texas

Having a neighbor’s dog come onto your property uninvited can be frustrating and concerning. As a dog owner myself, I understand the responsibilities and laws surrounding keeping dogs secure on one’s own property. If you live in Texas and are dealing with dogs trespassing on your land, there are legal steps you can take while also trying to maintain neighborly relations.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Under Texas law, you have the legal right to trap and impound trespassing dogs on your property, but you must follow procedures about notifying owners and authorities. Using reasonable force against a dog is allowed to protect people, livestock, and property.

What Laws In Texas Address Dog Trespassing

Texas Health and Safety Code 822: Requirements For Dog Owners

One of the laws in Texas that addresses dog trespassing is the Texas Health and Safety Code 822. This code sets forth the requirements for dog owners to ensure that their pets do not trespass onto other people’s property.

According to this code, dog owners are responsible for controlling their dogs and preventing them from entering or remaining on the property of others without permission. If a dog owner fails to take proper control of their dog and it trespasses onto someone’s property, they may be held liable for any damages caused by their dog’s actions.

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 84.001 – 84.007: Limited Liability For Actions Of Dogs

Another important law in Texas that addresses dog trespassing is the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 84.001 – 84.007. This section of the code provides limited liability protection for dog owners in certain situations.

It states that if a dog owner’s property is properly enclosed and marked with appropriate signs indicating the presence of a dog, the owner may have limited liability if their dog trespasses onto someone else’s property.

However, it is important to note that this limited liability protection does not apply in cases where the dog causes personal injury or property damage.

Texas Health and Safety Code 826: Local Regulation Of Dogs

In addition to the above-mentioned laws, Texas Health and Safety Code 826 allows local municipalities to enact their own regulations regarding dogs and dog trespassing. This means that specific rules and requirements may vary depending on the city or county where the property is located.

These local regulations may include leash laws, fencing requirements, and licensing obligations for dog owners. It is important for property owners to familiarize themselves with the local regulations in their area to ensure they are in compliance and to understand the options available to address dog trespassing.

For more detailed information on the laws addressing dog trespassing in Texas, you can visit the official website of the Texas Legislature: https://capitol.texas.gov/.

Steps To Take When A Neighbor’s Dog Trespasses

1. Document Incidents

The first step in dealing with a neighbor’s dog trespassing on your property is to document each incident that occurs. Keep a record of the dates and times the dog enters your property, as well as any damage or disturbances caused. Take photographs or videos if possible to provide visual evidence.

2. Talk To The Neighbor

Once you have documented the incidents, it’s important to approach your neighbor in a calm and friendly manner to discuss the issue. Explain the situation and how their dog’s trespassing is affecting you. It’s possible that they may not be aware of their dog’s behavior or the extent of the problem.

Finding a solution through open communication is always preferable.

3. Review Local Ordinances

Research and familiarize yourself with the local ordinances regarding dog trespassing in your area. Different cities or counties may have specific rules and regulations in place. Understanding these laws can help you navigate the situation and determine what actions you can take.

4. Call Animal Control

If talking to your neighbor doesn’t resolve the issue, contacting your local animal control agency is the next step. They have the authority to enforce animal control laws and can address the situation if the dog is posing a threat to your safety or causing damage to your property.

Provide them with the documentation you have gathered to support your case.

5. Set Up Barriers

To prevent further trespassing, consider setting up barriers around your property. This can include installing fences or gates that are difficult for the dog to bypass. Additionally, you can use natural deterrents like thorny plants or landscaping features that discourage the dog from entering your property.

6. Use Spray Shields

If the dog continues to trespass despite your efforts, you can employ spray shields as a non-harmful deterrent. Spray shields emit a burst of citronella or water when triggered, which can startle the dog and encourage it to retreat.

These devices can be effective in training the dog to stay away from your property.

Remember, when dealing with a neighbor’s dog trespassing, it’s essential to approach the situation with patience and understanding. Resolving the issue amicably is always the best outcome for everyone involved.

When You Can Legally Trap Or Impound A Dog

Dealing with dogs trespassing on your property can be a frustrating and concerning issue. In Texas, there are specific guidelines and laws in place that dictate when you can legally trap or impound a dog.

It is important to understand these regulations to ensure that you are acting within the boundaries of the law while addressing the problem at hand.

Requirements For Trapping

Before you can trap a dog on your property, there are certain requirements that must be met. Firstly, you must have a legitimate reason for trapping the dog, such as if it poses a threat to your safety or the safety of others.

Additionally, you may need to contact local animal control or law enforcement agencies to report the issue and seek their guidance.

It is also essential to use humane traps and methods when trapping a dog. This means avoiding any actions that could cause harm or unnecessary suffering to the animal. By following these requirements, you can ensure that you are acting responsibly while addressing the situation.

Holding Periods

Once you have successfully trapped a dog, there are holding periods that must be observed before taking further action. These holding periods vary depending on your location and the specific regulations in your area.

Typically, the purpose of these holding periods is to allow the owner to locate and reclaim their pet.

During this time, it is important to provide the dog with appropriate care and shelter. If you are unable to care for the dog yourself, you may need to contact local animal shelters or rescue organizations for assistance.

They can provide guidance on how to handle the situation and ensure that the dog’s welfare is prioritized.

Returning The Dog

If the owner is identified and able to reclaim their dog within the designated holding period, you are legally obligated to return the animal to them. It is crucial to maintain clear records and documentation throughout the process to ensure a smooth transition.

When returning the dog, it may be beneficial to have a conversation with the owner about the issue of trespassing and discuss potential solutions to prevent future incidents. This open communication can help establish a positive relationship and avoid future conflicts.

When Destruction Is Allowed

In some cases, destruction of a dog may be allowed if it poses a significant threat to public safety or if it is deemed a dangerous or aggressive animal. However, the decision to destroy a dog should never be taken lightly and should only be done in accordance with the law and after exhausting all other options.

It is important to consult with local authorities or animal control agencies to determine the appropriate course of action if you believe a dog warrants destruction. They can provide guidance and ensure that all necessary steps are followed to address the situation properly.

Remember, dealing with dogs trespassing on your property can be a complex issue, and it is important to approach it with care and consideration for both the animal’s welfare and the legal requirements in your area.

Seeking guidance from local authorities and professionals can help ensure that the situation is handled appropriately and responsibly.

Using Reasonable Force Against Trespassing Dogs

Dealing with trespassing dogs on your property can be a frustrating and concerning situation. While it’s important to handle the situation responsibly and ethically, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your livestock, and your property from these intruders.

Protecting People

When it comes to trespassing dogs, the safety of yourself and others should be your top priority. If you encounter a dog that is aggressive or poses a threat to your safety, it is essential to take immediate action.

In such situations, it is advisable to contact local animal control authorities or law enforcement to handle the situation professionally and ensure the safety of everyone involved.

Protecting Livestock and Pets

If you own livestock or pets and they are being harassed or attacked by trespassing dogs, it is crucial to intervene to protect them from harm. Texas law allows you to take reasonable measures to defend your animals.

This may include using non-lethal means such as loud noises, water hoses, or deterrent sprays to scare off the trespassing dogs. However, it is important to avoid causing unnecessary harm to the animals in the process.

Protecting Property

Trespassing dogs can cause damage to your property, such as digging up gardens or damaging fences. In such cases, you have the right to protect your property from these intrusions. Using reasonable force, such as making loud noises or using harmless deterrents, can be effective in deterring the dogs from damaging your property.

However, it is important to note that intentionally causing harm to the dogs can lead to legal consequences.

What’s Considered Reasonable Force

When determining what is considered reasonable force against trespassing dogs, it is essential to consider the specific circumstances and the level of threat the dogs pose. Texas law allows property owners to use force, including lethal force if necessary, to protect themselves, their livestock, and their property from imminent harm.

However, it is important to exercise caution and only use lethal force as a last resort when all other reasonable measures have failed.

It is recommended to familiarize yourself with local laws and regulations regarding trespassing dogs to ensure you are acting within the legal boundaries. Additionally, consulting with legal professionals or animal control authorities can provide further guidance on the appropriate actions to take in such situations.

For more information on legal rights and responsibilities when dealing with trespassing dogs, you can visit the official website of the Texas Department of Public Safety (https://www.dps.texas.gov/).

Seeking Compensation For Damage

If you find yourself dealing with dogs trespassing on your property in Texas, it’s important to know your rights and options for seeking compensation for any damage caused by these intruders. While the situation can be frustrating, there are steps you can take to address the issue and hold the responsible parties accountable.

Documenting Destruction/Injuries

The first step in seeking compensation for damage caused by trespassing dogs is to thoroughly document the destruction or injuries they have caused. Take clear photographs of any damage to your property, such as torn fences, trampled gardens, or chewed-up belongings.

Additionally, if you or anyone on your property has been injured by these dogs, seek medical attention and keep records of your injuries and any associated expenses.

Documentation is crucial in establishing the extent of the damage and the impact it has had on your property and well-being. It will serve as evidence when you pursue compensation.

Asking The Owner To Pay

Once you have documented the damage, it’s important to reach out to the dog owner and ask them to take responsibility for their pet’s actions. In a calm and polite manner, explain the situation, provide the evidence you have gathered, and request compensation for the damages incurred.

It’s worth noting that some dog owners may not be aware of their pet’s behavior or the extent of the damage caused. By having a conversation with them, you give them the opportunity to make things right.

Many owners will be willing to work out a fair resolution without the need for legal intervention.

Taking The Owner To Court

If the dog owner refuses to compensate you for the damages or ignores your request altogether, you may need to consider taking legal action. In Texas, dog owners can be held liable for damages caused by their pets under the state’s “dog bite” and “negligence” laws.

Before proceeding to court, you may want to consult with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury or property damage cases. They can guide you through the legal process and help you determine the best course of action based on the specific circumstances of your case.

When pursuing legal action, it’s important to gather all the evidence you have, including the documented damages, medical records (if applicable), and any communication you had with the dog owner regarding compensation.

Remember, seeking compensation through legal means can be a lengthy and potentially expensive process. However, it may be necessary to protect your rights and ensure that you are properly compensated for the damages caused by the trespassing dogs.

For further information on the laws regarding dog ownership and liability in Texas, you can visit the official website of the Texas Legislature at https://capitol.texas.gov/.


Having unwanted dogs regularly entering your property in Texas can be upsetting and harmful. While politely speaking with your neighbors should be the first step, you also have legal rights to protect your home, family, pets and property under state laws.

With some patience and by following proper procedures, the problem can hopefully be resolved amicably. But if talking to the owner and using barriers or sprays don’t work, trapping the dog or using reasonable force may be your last resorts. Understanding the relevant state laws will ensure you stay within your rights while addressing dog trespassing issues.

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