You may not realize that cruelty to animals is against the law. According to Texas Penal Code 42.11, an animal cruelty conviction can be penalized with a fine up to $2,000 and/or a sentence up to one year in the county jail.

According to the law: “A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly:

1) tortures or seriously overworks an animal,

2) fails unreasonably to provide necessary food, care or shelter for an animal in his custody,

3) abandons unreasonably an animal in his custody,

4) transports or confines an animal in a cruel manner,

5) kills, injures, or administers poison to an animal belonging to another without legal authority or the owner’s effective consent, or

6) causes one animal to fight with another.”

The SPCA of Texas employs two fulltime cruelty investigators who received more than 460 calls and investigated 130 complaints during June.

But cruelty is not necessarily limited to intentional acts; a pet also can be a victim of neglect – especially during the hot, Texas summer.

It is imperative that animals receive proper care, especially if they are left outdoors for any length of time.

Remember these tips to keep your pet happy and healthy this summer:

• Ensure plenty of fresh water is available and, if possible, keep the water bowl shaded.
• Provide plenty of shade.
• Don’t exercise during the heat of the day; mornings are best for man and beast.
• Don’t leave your pet in the car when you are shopping or running errands (even if you leave the windows “cracked”). Your best bet: Leave your pet at home.

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