Texas Has Some Surprising Laws Concerning Pet Tigers

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Shockingly, Texas has a large undocumented tiger population. There are probably around 2,000 (or more) of these big cats living in the Lone Star State even though only 47 permits are filed with the Department of State Health Services. The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas has the second largest population of tigers in the world, with India coming in at number one.

Owning a tiger is a controversial subject as the wild and dangerous animals are often obtained and kept illegally since it’s easy to purchase a tiger cub online. Many people don’t know how to handle the animal into its adulthood. But even if the animal is kept legally, there’s concern that the laws don’t do enough for the animal’s welfare.

Those wanting to keep dangerous animals like tigers, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, and even gorillas simply need to file a permit through the DSHS online, send a copy to state officials and pay a $50 permit fee. In the application, one should show that the animal’s cage meets state laws and that the owner has a $100,000 insurance policy for animal liability.

According to the law, a tiger only needs a 300 square foot cage with high walls, one thing to play with, a “claw log” to sharpen their claws, and a door that prevents escape. More about the Texas Administrative Code for dangerous wild animal cages can be read here.