AUSTIN — A hobbyist using a remote-control airplane mounted with a digital camera just happened to capture images last year of a Dallas creek running red with pigs blood. It led to a nearby meatpacking plant being fined for illegal dumping and two of its leaders being indicted on water pollution charges.Yet, a Texas law that took effect Sept. 1 tightened rules not on polluters but on taking such photographs, an effort to better protect private property from drone surveillance. More than 40 state legislatures have debated the increasing presence of unmanned aircraft in civilian airspace, with most of the proposals focused on protecting people from overly intrusive surveillance by law enforcement. But Texas law tips the scales in police favor giving them broad freedoms to use drones during investigations and allowing them to bypass a required search warrant if they have suspicions of illegal activity while also limiting use of small drones by ordinary residents. Texas is really the outlier, said Allie Bohm, an advocacy and policy strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union. The law makes using drones to capture images of people or property without permission punishable by a fine up to $500, while also allowing those improperly photographed or filmed to collect up to $10,000 in civil penalties if they can show that images were collected or distributed with malice. Supporters say it makes Texas a national leader in ensuring privacy protections keep pace with technology while curbing possible corporate espionage and other unauthorized snooping. But critics worry it gives police too much leeway while trampling on the constitutional rights of private citizens and media outlets. Republican state Rep. Lance Gooden said he introduced the bill to address concerns that ordinary Texans could use drones to spy on private property, as well as in response to fears that animal rights groups or environmentalists could keep tabs on livestock ranches or oil pipelines. But he said exceptions were added after law enforcement agencies worried that the drone bans would make it difficult to do their jobs. We didnt think that the Constitution gives someone the right to invade someone elses privacy, Gooden said from Terrell, east of Dallas. Congress has directed the Federal Aviation Administration to provide drones widespread access to domestic airspace by 2015, and the agency predicts that perhaps 7,500 small commercial unmanned aircraft could be operating domestically five years after that. Seven states have passed drone restrictions nationwide, with measures in Illinois, Florida, Montana and Tennessee mostly protecting individual privacy rights, requiring that law enforcement obtain warrants when using drones or prohibiting images collected from them from being used in court. Only Texas and Idaho restrict drone use by private citizens as well as public entities, however.