TEXAS BRAND LAWS

TEXAS STATUTES

AGRICULTURE CODE
TITLE 6. PRODUCTION, PROCESSING, AND SALE OF ANIMAL PRODUCTS
SUBTITLE B. LIVESTOCK
CHAPTER 144. MARKS AND BRANDS
SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

 


§ 144.001. Owner's Marks and Brands

(a) Each person who has cattle, hogs, sheep, or goats shall have and may use one or more earmarks and one or more brands differing from the earmarks and brands of the person's neighbors.

(b) A person who owns a horse may have and use one or more of the following to identify the horse:
(1) a brand differing from the brand of the person's neighbors, including a fire or electric heat brand, freeze brand, acid brand, or hoof brand;
(2) an earmark differing from the earmark of the person's neighbors;
(3) a tattoo differing from the tattoo of the person's neighbors;
(4) an electronic device; or
(5) another generally accepted identification method.

§ 144.002. Brands of Minors

A minor who owns cattle or hogs or one or more horses  may have one or more marks or brands, but the parent or guardian of the minor is responsible for the proper use of the mark or brand.

 

§ 144.003. Age for Marking or Branding

(a) Cattle shall be marked with the earmark or branded with the brand of the owner on or before the date they are one year old.

(b) Hogs, sheep, and goats shall be marked with the earmark of the owner on or before the date they are six months old.

 

SUBCHAPTER B. COUNTY BRANDS

 

§ 144.021. County Brands

Each county shall have a brand for horses and cattle. The following are county brands for use in the branding of horses or cattle:

[COUNTY BRAND TABLE OMITTED]

 

§ 144.022. Use of County Brand

In addition to a person's private brand, a person may place the county brand on all horses and cattle owned by that person.

 

§ 144.023. Removal of Stock With County Brand

If horses or cattle branded with a county brand are removed to another county, the owner of the animals shall counterbrand with the original county brand and a bar under it. After that counterbranding, the animals may be branded with the county brand of the county to which the animals were removed.

 

§ 144.024. Lists of County Brands

The secretary of state shall furnish a printed list of the county brands to the county clerk of each county. The county clerk shall securely post the list in the clerk's office.

 

SUBCHAPTER C. RECORDING OF MARKS AND BRANDS

 

§ 144.041. Marks and Brands to be Recorded

(a) Each person who owns cattle, hogs, sheep, or goats shall record that person's earmarks and brands with the county clerk of the county in which the animals are located.

(b) A person who owns a horse shall record an identification mark authorized by Section 144.001(b) with the county clerk of the county in which the animal is located.

(c) The county clerk shall keep a record of the marks and brands of each person who applies to the clerk for that purpose.

(d) A person may record that person's marks and brands in as many counties as necessary.

(e) A person may record any mark or brand that the person desires to use if no other person has recorded the mark or brand, without regard to whether that person has previously recorded a mark or brand.

§ 144.042. Recording

In recording a mark or brand, the county clerk shall note the date on which the mark or brand is recorded. In addition, the person recording a brand shall designate the part of the animal on which the brand is to be placed and the clerk shall include that in the records.

 

§ 144.043. Effect of Recording

(a) Any dispute about an earmark or brand shall be decided by reference to the mark and brand records of the county clerk, and the mark or brand of the oldest date prevails.

(b) A recorded mark or brand is the property of the person causing the record to be made and is subject to sale, assignment, transfer, devise, and descent the same as other personal property.

 

§ 144.044. Rerecording

(a) Not later than six months after August 30 of 1981 and of every 10th year thereafter, each person who owns livestock mentioned in this chapter shall have that person's marks and brands recorded with the county clerk, regardless of whether or not the marks or brands have been previously recorded.

(b) The person who, according to the records of the county, first recorded the mark or brand in the county is entitled to have the mark or brand recorded in that person's name. If the records do not show who first recorded the mark or brand in the county, the person who has been using the mark or brand the longest is entitled to have it recorded in that person's name.

(c) After the expiration of six months from each recording under this section, the marks and brands recorded prior to recording under this section have no force and effect and only the records made after each recording under this section may be examined or considered in recording marks and brands in the county.

SUBCHAPTER E.  REGISTRATION OF ANIMAL TATTOO MARKS

§ 144.101. Definition

In this subchapter, "director" means the director of the Department of Public Safety.


§ 144.102. Right to Register

In accordance with this subchapter, a person who owns one or more horses, hogs, dogs, sheep, or goats in this state is entitled to regi§ 144.105. Certificate of Registration


The director shall examine or cause to be examined each application for registration and shall immediately issue a certificate of registration after determining that there is satisfactory evidence that the registration should be made.ster for exclusive use any tattoo mark or other generally accepted identification method that is not previously recorded.


§ 144.103. Department of Public Safety to Administer

The Department of Public Safety shall administer this subchapter under the supervision of the director of that department.

§ 144.104. Application for Registration

(a) A person shall apply to the director for registration of a tattoo mark. The application must be signed by the applicant or the applicant's agent and show:
(1) the applicant's place of residence;
(2) the applicant's citizenship;
(3) the location of the livestock owned by the applicant;
(4) the kinds of livestock owned by the applicant; and
(5) the place or part of the animal on which the tattoo mark is to be placed.

(b) An application for registration of a tattoo mark must have attached a drawing of the tattoo mark for which registration is sought. The drawing must be signed by the applicant or the applicant's agent and must comply with the requirements of the director. The applicant shall furnish as many copies of the drawing as required by the director.

§ 144.105. Certificate of Registration

The director shall examine or cause to be examined each application for registration and shall immediately issue a certificate of registration after determining that there is satisfactory evidence that the registration should be made.

§ 144.106. Protest of Registration

(a) A person who would be damaged by the issuance of a certificate of registration may file a written notice of protest of that issuance with the director. The notice must be sworn to and filed not later than the 20th day after the date on which the protested application for registration is filed. In addition, the notice must state the grounds for the protest.

(b) After receiving a notice of protest, the director shall conduct hearings and take other steps necessary to determine whether the application for registration should be granted or denied. Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section, the decision of the director is final and the director must provide reasons for the decision.

(c) If the director abuses discretion, the contestant may appeal the decision of the director to a district court of the county in which the contestant resides.


§ 144.107. Effect of Registration

The registration of a tattoo mark under this subchapter creates an exclusive right to use that mark in this state. In a criminal or civil action in a court of this state, a registered tattoo mark is prima facie evidence of the ownership of the tattooed livestock.


§ 144.108. Filing With County Clerk

The director shall forward a certified copy of each registration to the county clerk of the county of the applicant's residence. The county clerk shall file the certificate in records maintained for that purpose.


§ 144.109. Assignment of Registered Tattoo Mark

(a) A certificate of registration and the exclusive right to use a tattoo mark may be assigned in connection with the goodwill of a ranch, farm, or other business in which the tattoo mark is used if written notice of the assignment, sworn to by the assignor, is filed with the director.

(b) A certificate of registration and the exclusive right to use a tattoo mark may not be assigned except as provided by this section.


§ 144.110. Fees

(a) Each person who registers, assigns, or protests the registration of a tattoo mark shall pay the following appropriate fee to the director at the time the application, notice of assignment, or notice of protest is filed:
(1) $5 for an application for registration;
(2) $1 for a notice of assignment; or
(3) $10 for a notice of protest.

(b) A person whose registered tattoo mark is recorded with the county clerk shall pay the clerk a filing fee of 25 cents.

(c) The director shall remit all fees collected under this subchapter by the director to the comptroller of public accounts, who shall deposit the fees in the treasury to the credit of a special fund known as the livestock tattoo fund. That fund may be used only in the administration of this subchapter, but the legislature may appropriate general revenue funds for that purpose.

SUBCHAPTER F. PENALTIES

 

§ 144.121. Use of Unrecorded Mark or Brand

(a) A person commits an offense if the person marks or brands any unmarked or unbranded livestock with a mark or brand that is not recorded under this chapter.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.

 

§ 144.122. Altering Mark or Brand

(a) A person commits an offense if the person alters or changes a mark or brand on livestock owned or controlled by that person without first having changed the recorded mark or brand.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500.

 

§ 144.123. Marking or Branding Outside Pen

(a) A person commits an offense if the person marks or brands any animal outside a pen.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $50.

 

§ 144.124. Improperly Recording Brand

(a) A person commits an offense if, as county clerk, the person records a brand for which the person recording the brand fails to designate the part of the animal on which the brand is to be placed.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $50.

 

§ 144.125. Counterbranding Without Owner's Consent

(a) A person commits an offense if the person violates Section 144.074(c) of this code.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $10 nor more than $50 for each animal counterbranded.

 

§ 144.126. Driving Cattle Without Road Brand

(a) A person commits an offense if the person drives cattle without a road brand in violation of Section 144.073 of this code.

(b) An offense under this section is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $20 nor more than $100 for each animal driven.


§ 144.127. Reproduction or Destruction of Tattoo Mark

(a) A person commits an offense if the person, without the consent of the owner, reproduces, counterfeits, copies, adds to, takes from, imitates, destroys, or removes a registered tattoo mark on livestock or aids in the commission of one of those acts.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Corrections for not less than 2 years nor more than 12 years.


§ 144.128. Purchase, Sale, or Transportation of Tattooed Livestock Without Consent

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) without consent of the owner, buys, sells, or barters, for that person or another person, any livestock on which a registered tattoo mark has been placed;
(2) without consent of the owner, transports over the highways of this state any livestock on which a registered tattoo mark has been placed; or
(3) aids in the commission of an act under Subdivision (1) or (2) of this subsection.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony punishable by imprisonment in the Texas Department of Corrections for not less than 2 years nor more than 12 years.

TITLE 6. PRODUCTION, PROCESSING, AND SALE OF ANIMAL PRODUCTS
SUBTITLE B. LIVESTOCK
CHAPTER 146. SALE AND SHIPMENT OF LIVESTOCK
SUBCHAPTER A. GENERAL PROVISIONS

 

§ 146.001. Bill of Sale or Transfer Required

(a) If a person in this state sells or transfers a horse, mule, jack, jennet, ox, or head of cattle, the actual delivery of the animal must be accompanied by a written transfer to the purchaser from the vendor. The written transfer must give the marks and brands of the animal and, if more than one animal is transferred, must give the number transferred.

(b) On the trial of the right of property in an animal sold or transferred under Subsection (a) of this section, the possession of the animal without the written transfer is presumed to be illegal.

(c) A person may dispose of livestock on the range by sale and delivery of the marks and brands, but in order to acquire title the purchaser must have the bill of sale recorded in the county clerk's office. The county clerk shall record the transfer in records maintained for that purpose and shall note the transfer on the records of marks and brands in the name of the purchaser.

 

§ 146.002. Recording Bill of Sale and List of Animals Before Driving

(a) A person who purchases animals of a class listed in Section 146.001 of this code for the purpose of driving to a market out of the county where purchased or out of this state shall, before moving the animals out of the county, record with the county clerk:

(1) a bill of sale;

(2) a list of the number, marks, brands, and kind of animals; and

(3) the address of the purchaser.

(b) The bill of sale and list recorded under Subsection (a) of this section must be signed and acknowledged by each vendor.

(c) The clerk shall record the bill of sale, list, and address of the purchaser in records maintained for that purpose and, on payment of recording fees, shall return to the person presenting the information a certificate of record under seal.

(d) A person intending to drive stock owned and raised by that person out of the county where raised or out of the state shall, before so driving the animals, record with the county clerk a list of the animals with a description of the marks and brands. The list must be verified by affidavit of the person recording the information. The county clerk shall record and certify the list and return it to the person presenting the information.

 

§ 146.005. Permits to Transport Animals

(a) A person who drives a vehicle, including a truck or an automobile, containing livestock, domestic fowl, slaughtered livestock or domestic fowl, or butchered portions of livestock or domestic fowl on a highway, public street, or thoroughfare or on property owned or leased by a person other than the driver shall obtain a permit authorizing the movement.

(b) A permit must be signed by the owner or caretaker of the shipment or by the owner or person in control of the land from which the driver began movement. In addition, the permit must state the following information:

(1) the point of origin of the shipment, including the name of the ranch or other place;

(2) the point of destination of the shipment, including the name of the ranch, market center, packinghouse, or other place;

(3) the number of living animals, slaughtered animals, or butchered portions; and

(4) the description of the shipment, including the kind, breed, color, and marks and brands of living or slaughtered animals.

(c) On demand of a peace officer or any other person, the driver shall exhibit the permit required by this section or shall provide a signed, written statement containing all of the information required for a permit under this section.

(d) Failure or refusal of a driver to exhibit a permit or provide a statement in accordance with this section is probable cause for a search of the vehicle to determine if it contains stolen property and for detaining the shipment a reasonable length of time to make that determination.


CHAPTER 146. SALE AND SHIPMENT OF LIVESTOCK
SUBCHAPTER C. INSPECTION, SALE, AND SHIPMENT OF HIDES AND ANIMALS IN CERTAIN COUNTIES

§ 146.058. Bill of Sale; Marks and Brands

(a) A person who buys or drives any animal for sale or shipment out of the county or who buys or drives an animal to slaughter shall procure a written bill of sale from the owner or the owner's agent at the time of purchase or before driving. The bill of sale must be properly signed and acknowledged and must give the number, kind, age, and marks and brands of the animals.

(b) A person who buys the hides of cattle shall procure a written bill of sale from the owner or the owner's agent at the time of purchase. The bill of sale must be properly acknowledged and must state the marks and brands of each hide, the weight of each hide, and whether each hide is dry or green.

(c) An inspector may authenticate bills of sale and may give a signed and sealed certificate of acknowledgment of each bill of sale authenticated. An inspector may collect a fee of 50 cents for each acknowledgment issued.

(d) If cattle are gathered near the county line, the bills of sale must be recorded in both counties.

(e) The inspector shall keep current certified copies of the county's recorded marks and brands. If cattle or other stock are sold, that fact shall be noted on the record opposite or near the record of each animal's mark or brand, giving the name of the vendor and vendee and the date of sale.


§ 146.059. List of Persons Authorized to Handle Animals

A person who has marks and brands recorded with the county clerk may authorize others to gather, drive, or otherwise handle the person's animals by filing with the inspector a list of the marks and brands to which a list of the persons authorized to handle the animals is attached. The lists must be certified by the county clerk.

 

§ 146.060. Inspections

(a) The inspector or a deputy inspector shall personally examine and inspect each hide or animal that is known or reported to be:

(1) sold in the county;

(2) leaving the county for sale or shipment; or

(3) driven in the county for slaughter.

(b) The inspector or a deputy inspector shall inspect animals being driven for sale or shipment out of the county before the animals are removed from the county.

(c) The inspector or deputy inspector shall examine each hide or animal separately so as to identify:

(1) the number, age, marks, and brands of an animal; or

(2) the number, marks, and brands of a hide, whether the hide was dry or green, and the vendor and purchaser of the hide.

(d) The inspector shall record the information obtained under Subsection (c) of this section in a well-bound book. On the last day of each month the inspector shall file a certified copy of the entries for the previous month with the county clerk, who shall file that copy in the records of the county court.

 

§ 146.061. Certificate of Inspection

(a) For each inspection of animals, following proof of ownership under Subsection (b) of this section and payment of inspection fees, the inspector shall issue a certificate of inspection stating that the inspector has carefully examined and inspected each animal and that the purchaser has complied with the law. If cattle were inspected, the certificate must also state:

(1) the number of cattle for each mark or brand;

(2) the age and sex of each head;

(3) the name of the person for whom the cattle were inspected and that the cattle appear to be the property of that person as either the owner of the mark or brand or as the person named in the bill of sale;

(4) that no other cattle in the herd or under control of the person for whom they are inspected should be inspected;

(5) that the person for whom the cattle were inspected intends to drive or ship them; and

(6) the name of the place in this state at which the cattle are to be sold or slaughtered or the place on the border through which they are to be shipped.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, the inspector may not issue a certificate of inspection unless presented with a written bill of sale or power of attorney from the owner of the animal or an agent authorized to act for the owner by a written, signed, and acknowledged instrument. The inspector shall carefully examine the bills of sale and lists of marks and brands for cattle inspected. Before issuing a certificate of inspection for cattle, the inspector must be satisfied that no cattle are among the herd inspected other than those for which the person claiming the cattle has:

(1) a bill of sale or chain of transfer in writing from the record owner; or

(2) a certificate from a county clerk stating that the mark and brand are recorded with the clerk as the mark and brand of that person.

(c) The certificate of inspection and bill of sale shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk and certified under the clerk's hand and seal. Each inspector shall maintain a record of all certificates issued.

(d) The inspector shall deliver the certificate of inspection to the purchaser of the animal under the bill of sale or to the purchaser's agent.

(e) A person who possesses a certificate of inspection may not be required to pay inspection fees for inspection of the animals described in the certificate in any county other than a county from which the animals are exported.

 

§ 146.064. Inspection at Point of Destination

(a) If the inspector of a herd at the point of destination finds cattle other than those covered by the certificate of inspection from the county from which the cattle were driven, the inspector shall seize the cattle. If the person in charge of the cattle refuses to deliver them to the inspector, the inspector may apply for a writ of sequestration from a court of competent jurisdiction, as determined by the value of the cattle, by filing with the court an affidavit stating that the inspector believes the cattle to have been unlawfully acquired. The court shall issue the writ without bond and the sheriff or a constable of the county shall immediately execute the writ.

(b) The court issuing the writ of sequestration shall issue a citation directed to the constable and addressed "To whom it may concern." The citation must state that the animals have been seized, describe the animals, and command that concerned persons appear on a day named in the citation to show cause why the animals should not be forfeited to and sold for the benefit of the county in which they were seized. The sheriff or constable shall post certified copies of the citation in three public places in the county for a period of 10 days before the date named in the citation. On receiving proof of posting, the court shall proceed to condemn the animals unless satisfactory proof of ownership is made or unless other sufficient cause is shown why the property should not be condemned.

(c) If animals are condemned under this section, the court shall order the inspector to sell the animals at public auction to the highest bidder. The inspector is entitled to retain one-fourth of the proceeds of the sale after deducting expenses. The remaining proceeds shall be paid into the county treasury subject to the claim of the true owner of the cattle. The deposit in the county treasury must be accompanied by a certified statement, under the hand and seal of the inspector, of the number of cattle sold, the mark and brand of each animal, and the sale price. If a claim to those proceeds is not established earlier than one year after the date of deposit in the county treasury, the proceeds pass to the general fund of the county and all claims to the proceeds are barred.

(d) Proceedings under this section may be conducted while the court is in term or on vacation.

 

§ 146.068. Seizure of Imported Hides or Animals Believed Stolen

(a) An inspector shall take possession of any hides or animals imported from Mexico that the inspector has reason to believe, on the basis of the brands or other evidence, are stolen from the lawful owner. The inspector shall notify any person that the inspector believes to be interested to institute suit for recovery of the hides or animals. If no person claims the hides or animals within 24 hours, the inspector under oath shall notify a court of competent jurisdiction, as determined by the value of the property seized, that there is reason to believe that the hides or animals are stolen. The court shall issue a citation directing the owner or person claiming the hides or animals to appear at the judge's or justice's office within a specified time, not to exceed 24 hours, to show cause why the property should not be condemned.

(b) If a person proves to be the lawful owner of hides or animals seized under this section, the court shall direct that the property be delivered to that person on payment of the inspection fees and other costs. A person may prove ownership by showing a bill of sale from the prior owner or an agent of the prior owner and a complete chain of transfer of title from the original owner.

(c) If no person proves to be the owner of hides or animals seized under this section, the court shall direct that the property be sold at public auction by the inspector. Notice of the sale shall be published for 10 days in a newspaper published in the county. If no newspaper is published in the county, notice shall be posted for 10 days at the courthouse door and at two or more other places in the county. The property shall be sold to the highest and best bidder.

(d) Proceeds of a sale under this section shall first be used to satisfy expenses of the sale. Of the balance remaining, the inspector is entitled to retain 25 percent and shall remit 75 percent to the county treasurer. The county treasurer shall deposit one-half of that sum to the credit of the county available school fund and one-half to the credit of the county jury fund.

(e) At any time before proceedings are begun under this section, the importer of the hides or animals may pay the lawful owner or the owner's agent or attorney for those hides or animals. Following that payment and payment of the inspection fees, the inspector shall release the hides or animals to the importer.

 

§ 146.069. Inspection and Seizure of Hides or Animals Without Brand or With Unhealed Brand

(a) An inspector may not issue a certificate of inspection for unbranded hides or animals or for hides or animals for which the brand cannot be ascertained.

(b) Unless the hide or animal is identified in accordance with Subsection (c) of this section, an inspector may seize and sequestrate a hide or an animal that is about to be slaughtered or driven or shipped out of the county if:

(1) the hide or animal is unbranded;

(2) the mark or brand for the animal cannot be ascertained; or

(3) the animal is a calf or yearling on which a fresh mark or brand is unhealed.

(c) An inspector may not seize a hide or an animal that is identified by a bill of sale signed by the owner or the owner's agent and acknowledged before an officer authorized to authenticate instruments for record in this state. An inspector may not seize a calf or yearling that is accompanied by its mother.

(d) An inspector who seizes a hide or an animal under this section shall report the seizure to a court of competent jurisdiction as determined by the value of the property seized. The court shall issue a citation directed to the sheriff or a constable that is addressed "To whom it may concern." The citation must state that the property has been seized, describe the property, and command that concerned persons appear at a day named in the citation to show cause why the property should not be forfeited to and sold for the benefit of the county in which it was seized.

(e) The sheriff or constable shall post certified copies of the citation in three public places in the county for a period of 10 days before the date named in the citation. On receiving proof of posting, the court issuing the citation shall proceed to condemn the property unless satisfactory proof of ownership is made or unless other sufficient cause is shown why the property should not be condemned.

(f) If the property is condemned, the court shall order the inspector to sell it at public auction to the highest bidder. The inspector is entitled to retain one-fourth of the proceeds of the sale after deducting expenses and shall immediately pay the remaining proceeds into the county treasury for deposit to the credit of the general fund of the county.

 

CHAPTER 147. LIVESTOCK COMMISSION MERCHANTS
SUBCHAPTER C. RECORDS

 

§ 147.041. Record of Sales

(a) Each livestock auction commission merchant shall keep a record of all livestock sold at auction. The record must give an accurate description of the livestock, including:

(1) the color;

(2) the probable age;

(3) any marks and brands; and

(4) the location of marks and brands.

(b) Records maintained under Subsection (a) of this section are subject to inspection by any citizen of this state.

(c) Each livestock auction commission merchant shall file a quarterly report of all livestock sold with the commissioners court of the county in which the commission merchant transacts business. The report must include:

(1) a description of the livestock;

(2) the name and address of the consignor or the person purporting to own the livestock; and

(3) the name and address of the purchaser.

 

Amended in 1997.
Reviewed by AAHS in July 2001.


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