As of September 1, bison have been added to the list of possible “estray livestock” protected by Texas law reported the Texas Tribune. That means if they get loose, whoever finds them has to try and locate their owner. If they cannot, local authorities have to hold the animals. If the animal(s) are unclaimed for two weeks, they can be sold at public auction.
In 2010, King County rancher, Wayne Kirk, lost 51 buffalo. The animals broke through his fence and wandered repeatedly onto a neighbor’s ranch. The frustrated neighbor shot and killed them. Kirk had no recourse because the animals were not protected at the time.
The new law also has a provision where the animals can be immediately disposed of by any means “if a perilous condition exists.”