Jim Wells County will start enforcing wild animal registration program

Robin Bradshaw
Alice Echo News Journal
Jim Wells County will start enforcing the dangerous wild animal registration program starting in March 2021.

Jim Wells County will start enforcing a revised dangerous wild animal registration program starting on March 2021.

The list of animals under the program would include: lions, tigers, ocelots, cougars, leopards, cheetahs, jaguars, bobcats, lynx, servals, caracals, hyenas, bears, coyotes, jackals, baboons, chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas, and hybrids of these animals. 

County officials are asking residents that own these types of wild dangerous animals to follow the ordinance's guidelines to avoid fines and help support the overall safety of the community. 

"The county has not been forcefully enforcing the ordinance but that will change in March,"  County Attorney Micheal Guerra said. "If one of these animals gets loose and someone gets hurt the county needs to have the animal's veterinary records and we have the responsibility to report to the state. The county needs to know who has these animals and where they are housed moving forward." 

The registration program guidelines are in line with the Texas Health and Safety Code and would include annual fees, veterinary records, where the animals actually live, and a certificate to own these animals will need to be re-certified annually. 

The registration will be a $50 non-refundable annual fee for each animal not to exceed $500. A person who commits an offense or fails to display the registration certificate in accordance with state laws could face a civil penalty of a minimum $200 fine not to exceed $2,000. 

The registration packet will be posted on the Jim Wells County website and at the Jim Wells County Sheriff's Office website. For more information contact the sheriff's office at 361-668-0341.