Comal County Sheriff's Office - Estray/Loose Livestock

The mission of the Comal County Sheriff's Office Estray Officers is to protect all livestock from harm, theft or from roaming at large. We will enforce all applicable laws to safeguard the welfare of the public and the livestock. The Estray Officers could better be described as the "Livestock Unit".

This Unit is responsible for enforcing all applicable laws and with particular emphasis on the Livestock Laws of the


Quarter Horse-04-12-2017

Quarter Horse 04-18-2017

Quarter Horse 04-18-2017

State of Texas and the Texas Agriculture Code. The Texas Agriculture code deems "Estray" as stray livestock, stray exotic livestock, or stray exotic fowl. Loose livestock or Estrays are a major concern in Comal County. The estray problem creates a danger of property damage and even death on our roadways. With the continual growth in population and more cars on the roadways the problem continues to grow. The Texas Legislature has assigned the duties to the Sheriff of each county to deal with the problem.

The Livestock/Estray Office is responsible for transporting, selling and filing notice of livestock. The general procedure once livestock is impounded by the Sheriff Office, the Sheriff’s designees make a diligent search for the identity of the owner of the Estray, including a search in the Comal County resister of recorded brands, if the animal has an identifiable brand. If the search does not reveal the owner, a notice of Estray is filed at the County Clerk Office, in a Newspaper and on the County website for at least 15 days after the date of impoundment's after the date of impoundment.

When estray is redeemed by owner, in a reasonable time (within 18 days) a redemption payment (reasonable amount for maintenance and damages) will be collected, and estray released to owner.

Estray not redeemed by owner within the reasonable time, the sheriff shall sell the Estray at Sheriff Sale or Public Auction. Note, owner may recover possession of Estray at any time before sale if owner provided an Affidavit of Ownership.

The reporting of the estray animals begins with a Patrol Deputy taking a report when an estray is located and the Contract Cowboy picks up the animal(s). Once the report is sent to the CCSO Civil office one of four Deputies will begin the process of locating the owner and reporting of the estray to the courthouse and the local newspaper.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. This cow has been on my property for two months, can I claim it as mine.

A. No. When an animal (domestic) strays onto private property it is up to the property owner to report the estray. Sec 143.003.

Q. What are the fees for Estrays?

A. Hauling Fee $100.00, Feed – Horse/Mule $20.00 per day, Cattle $15.00 per day, Goat/Sheep $8.00 per day, Hogs $5.00 per day. Catch fee $25.00 per head, Sheriff fee $25.00 per head, County fee $25.00 per head, If horse needed to catch $100.00.

Q. What if the owner disagrees with amount of fees?

A. If owner disagrees with amount, owner may file petition with Justice of the Peace Office.

Q. What if owner comes forward to claim Estray after sale?

A. Within one (1) year after the date of sale, the original owner of the Estray may recover net proceed of sale. If owner has provided Affidavit of Ownership, Sheriff has approved Affidavit, Approved Affidavit has been filled with County Clerk Office and Sheriff has signed County Voucher directing payment.

RUNNING AT LARGE ON HIGHWAY PROHIBITED: A person who owns or has responsibility for the control of a horse, mule, donkey, cow, bull, steer, hog, sheep or goat, may not knowingly permit the animal to traverse or roam at large, unattended, on the right-of-way of a highway. Discovery of an Estray and duty to report to the Sheriff: It is also important to know that if a citizen discovers livestock on his or her property without their permission they must report the presence of the estray to the Sheriff as soon as reasonably possible. It is then the Sheriff's responsibility to attempt to identify the owner of the animal and notify them for recovery except that if it is determined that the estray is dangerous to the public then the estray may be immediately impounded. You can learn more about the Estray Laws by visiting: Livestock Laws of the State of Texas, Texas Agricultural Code (Chapter 142 - Estrays)