Law Office of Kimberly N. Shanklin, PLLC.
Serving Denton County Since 2002
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Interference with Police Service Animals

Interference with Police Service Animal

Chapter 38 of the Texas Penal Code defines offenses relating to the obstruction of governmental operation.

“Interference with Police Service Animals”, as per § 38.151 of the Texas Penal Code, occurs when a person recklessly:

  1. taunts, torments, or strikes a police service animal;

  2. throws an object or substance at a police service animal;

  3. interferes with or obstructs a police service animal or interferes with or obstructs the handler or rider of a police service animal in a manner that:

    1. inhibits or restricts the handler's or rider's control of the animal; or

    2. deprives the handler or rider of control of the animal;

  4. releases a police service animal from its area of control;

  5. enters the area of control of a police service animal without the effective consent of the handler or rider, including placing food or any other object or substance into that area;

  6. injures or kills a police service animal; or

  7. engages in conduct likely to injure or kill a police service animal, including administering or setting a poison, trap, or any other object or substance.

An offense under this section is:

  • a Class C misdemeanor if the person commits an offense under Subsection (1);

  • a Class B misdemeanor if the person commits an offense under Subsection (2);

  • a Class A misdemeanor if the person commits an offense under Subsection (3), (4), or (5);

  • a state jail felony if the person commits an offense under Subsection (6) or (7) by injuring a police service animal or by engaging in conduct likely to injure the animal; or

  • a felony of the second degree if the person commits an offense under Subsection (6) or (7) by:

    • killing a police service animal or engaging in conduct likely to kill the animal;

    • injuring a police service animal in a manner that materially and permanently affects the ability of the animal to perform as a police service animal; or

    • engaging in conduct likely to injure a police service animal in a manner that would materially and permanently affect the ability of the animal to perform as a police service animal.

Severity of Crime

Misdemeanor c

  • Fine not to exceed $500

Misdemeanor B

  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days

  • Fine not to exceed $2,000

  • Both such fine and confinement

Misdemeanor A

  • Confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year

  • Fine not to exceed $4,000

  • Both such fine and confinement

State Jail Felony

  • Confinement in a state jail for not more than two years and not less than 180 days

  • In addition to confinement, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Third Degree Felony

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 10 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000

Second Degree FelonY

  • Imprisonment in the institutional division for not more than 20 years or less than two years

  • In addition to imprisonment, may receive a fine not to exceed $10,000