Edgett Law Firm | March 5, 2021 | Texas Law
Yes, it’s legal to own a pet sloth in Texas. However, before you buy a sloth as a pet in Texas, you need to know the law and consider the consequences of owning a wild animal.
Texas Laws Related To Owning Exotic or Wild Animals
Texas laws regarding owning exotic or wild animals as pets are not as strict as some other states. The Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife is in charge of enforcing Texas laws related to possession of wild or exotic animals. Even though a sloth does not appear dangerous, it is considered an exotic animal.
Exotic animals are defined by state law as animals that are not indigenous to Texas. State laws regarding wild animals also regulate pet trade, wild-caught animals, crossing state lines with some animals, and pet stores that sell exotic pets.
The exotic animal laws in Texas prohibit people from owning some types of wild animals as pets, such as a tiger or bear. However, sloths are not on that list of animals prohibited from ownership by the general public.
Therefore, if you follow all the state and local laws and ordinances for licensing and registering exotic pets, you could buy a sloth or a baby sloth in Texas.
Do Sloths Make Good Pets?
No, not really. Sloths appear cuddly and cute in pictures and videos. However, a sloth is a dangerous wild animal. They are not the type of animal you want as a pet.
Sloths spend most of their time hanging upside down from trees in the tropical forests of Central and South America.
Sloths sleep about 20 hours a day, and they do not like to be held or touched. They only come down from their trees about once a week to go to the bathroom. Otherwise, they mate and give birth in the tree.
A sloth can grow to be the size of a small dog and live up to 20 years or more. They require a special diet and habitat. It can be difficult to find a veterinarian near your home that is willing to provide care for a wild animal.
Sloths might move slowly most of the time, but they do have sharp claws and teeth. When threatened or provoked, a sloth can attack and cause severe injuries.
If your sloth injuries someone, you could be personally liable for damages caused by the injuries. Depending on the exceptions in your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, your insurance company might not cover the claim. If the person sustains a severe injury and permanent impairment, you could be liable for tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Personal Injury Claims for Animal Attacks
Animal ownership is a huge responsibility. As a pet owner, you are liable for any damages caused by your pet. Likewise, if another person’s pet injures you, that person could be liable for damages caused by the injury.
Dog bites are some of the most common animal attacks that result in personal injury claims. If a dog bites you, you could recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Damages could include lost wages, pain, medical bills, scarring, disfigurement, and permanent impairments.
Criminal Charges for Animal Attacks
In some cases, a pet owner could be charged with a crime if their animal attacks another person. It is vital that you understand your obligations and requirements as a pet owner, especially if you intend to purchase and keep an exotic or wild animal as a pet.
If you are unsure what your criminal liability could be if your pet injures or kills another person or animal, talk to a criminal defense lawyer.
Before purchasing the animal, make sure that you have all licenses required to keep the animal. Also, make sure that you have met all state and local requirements for securing the animal. You could need special cages, locks, fences, or other items to prevent the animal from escaping and harming someone.
The last thing you want is to face both civil and criminal cases for an injury your pet caused. In addition to being financially responsible for the victim’s damages, you could face criminal penalties if you are found guilty of a crime.