Austin, TX asked in Animal / Dog Law and Personal Injury for Texas

Q: Can I sue the animal shelter?

My animal was trapped by a city worker, stolen, and had his testicles removed without my permission or consent. Now my cat can NO longer breed, continue his blood line. Video surveillance as well.

I have before and after pictures.

Please help, or please put me in touch with someone who can help my case!

Thanks for your time.

1 Lawyer Answer
John Michael Frick
John Michael Frick
  • Frisco, TX
  • Licensed in Texas

A: It depends on the facts and circumstances of your particular situation. Many cities and towns in Texas have mandatory neutering laws. Although the terms can vary, a typical ordinance requires any male dog or cat over eight months of age to be neutered unless the owner obtains an intact-pet permit. Many cities and towns allow or require animal shelters operating in their jurisdiction to neuter pets trapped at-large. Most cities and towns require pet owners to keep their pets securely fenced on their own property or on a leash, with the exception of designated leash-free areas like dog parks. It may be critical to your case to prove that a city worker wrongfully entered your property to trap your animal.

A separate distinct issue is the question of official immunity. In most instances, a city worker doing a job for the city is immune from a civil action based on negligence in performing his job for the city. There are some exceptions to the doctrine of official immunity. For example, if you can establish that the city worker's job did not include trapping stray and at-large animals, or that the city worker knew you before the incident as a result of past encounters unrelated to his job duties and deliberately targeted you for malicious reasons unrelated to the performance of his job duties for the City.

These types of claims can become very complex legally, so be prepared to pay appropriately if you locate an attorney willing to pursue litigation on these facts. $50,000 - $100,000 would not be unreasonable. Unless your pet cat was a prize-winning purebred, it seems unlikely that your damages for the loss of future litters of kittens would justify the expense.

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