AUSTIN (KXAN) — After a Texas animal shelter said it was caring for dogs with gunshot wounds, our sister station, KXAN, took an in-depth look at animal cruelty laws in Texas.

The basis of the law states that an offense is committed if someone “without the owner’s effective consent, kills, administers poison to, or causes serious bodily injury to an animal.”

“I think shooting and killing a dog should be the last resort,” said Eric Torberson, a Central Texas attorney who has worked several cases involving animals.

The law states you can shoot a dog if attacks your livestock, your own pets, your children or yourself.

“Would a reasonable person think that they need to prevent serious bodily injury to their children or themselves? That will be a factor in whether it’s animal cruelty or you’re defending yourself,” Torberson said. “You can’t just kill a dog because it’s trespassing onto your property.”

According to the Austin Police Department (APD), gun laws must also be taken into account in these cases as well – both city ordinances and state law. The department said you can’t harm or endanger another person in the course of firing a gun.

APD also said in Texas, dogs are considered property and “you can shoot/kill your dog for any reason.”

The law does state, however, you must do so “humanely.” That means you cannot “torture an animal or in a cruel manner kill or cause seriously bodily injury to an animal.”

The definition of “cruel manner” is “a manner that causes or permits unjustified or unwarranted pain or suffering.”