Mississippi State Service Dog Laws

The portion of Mississippi Law that is specific to service animals can be found here. Please expand the sections below to read more.

Important points:

Summary – Trainers of service animals have the same right to public accommodation as disabled individuals.

Detailed – Public Welfare § 43-6-155(2) Trainers of support dogs and other support animals shall have the same rights of accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges with support animals-in-training as those provided to blind, mobility impaired or hearing impaired persons with support animals under this section.

(3) No person shall deprive a blind, mobility impaired, hearing impaired person, or a support animal trainer of any of the advantages, facilities or privileges provided in this section, nor charge such blind, mobility impaired or hearing impaired person or support animal trainer a fee or charge for the use of the animal.

Every totally or partially blind person and every deaf person shall have the right to be accompanied by a guide dog or hearing ear dog on a blaze orange leash, especially trained for the purpose, in any of the places specified in Section 43-6-5 without being required to pay an extra charge for the guide dog or hearing ear dog on a blaze orange leash.  However, such person shall be liable for any damage done to the premises or facilities by such dog.
A totally or partially blind pedestrian or deaf person shall have all the rights and privileges conferred by law upon other persons in any of the places, accommodations, or conveyances specified in Sections 43-6-3 and 43-6-5, notwithstanding the fact that such person is not carrying a predominantly white cane (with or without a red tip), or using a guide dog or hearing ear dog on a blaze orange leash.  The failure of a totally or partially blind person or deaf person to carry such a cane or to use such a guide dog or hearing ear dog on a blaze orange leash shall not constitute negligence per se.
Any person or persons, firm or corporation who denies or interferes with admittance to or enjoyment of the public facilities as specified in Sections 43-6-3 and 43-6-5, or otherwise interferes with the rights of a totally or partially blind person, deaf person or other disabled person under Sections 43-6-3 through 43-6-7, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for a period not exceeding sixty (60) days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
Sections 43-6-151 through 43-6-155 shall be known as and may be cited as the “Mississippi Support Animal Act.”
The following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed herein unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

(a) “Mobility impaired person” means any person, regardless of age, who is subject to a physiological defect or deficiency regardless of its cause, nature, or extent that renders the person unable to move about without the aid of crutches, a wheelchair or any other form of support, or that limits the person’s functional ability to ambulate, climb, descend, sit, rise, or to perform any related function.

(b) “Blind” means either of the following:

(i) Vision 20/200 or less in the better eye with proper correction.

(ii) Field defect in the better eye with proper correction which contracts the peripheral field so that the diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than twenty (20) degrees.

(1) Any blind person, mobility impaired person or hearing impaired person who uses a dog or other animal specifically trained as a guide, leader, listener or for any other assistance necessary to assist such blind, mobility impaired or hearing impaired person in day-to-day activities shall be entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all public conveyances, hotels, lodging places, businesses open to the public for the sale of any goods or services and all places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort and other places to which the general public is invited, and may take the dog or other animal into conveyances and places, subject only to the conditions and limitations applicable to all persons not so accompanied, except that:

(a) The dog or other animal shall not occupy a seat in any public conveyance.

(b) The dog or other animal shall be upon a leash or otherwise sufficiently restrained in a manner appropriate for the animal while using the facilities of a common carrier.

(2) Trainers of support dogs and other support animals shall have the same rights of accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges with support animals-in-training as those provided to blind, mobility impaired or hearing impaired persons with support animals under this section.

(3) No person shall deprive a blind, mobility impaired, hearing impaired person, or a support animal trainer of any of the advantages, facilities or privileges provided in this section, nor charge such blind, mobility impaired or hearing impaired person or support animal trainer a fee or charge for the use of the animal.

(1) Whenever a pedestrian is crossing or attempting to cross a public street or highway, at or near an intersection or crosswalk, guided by a guide dog or carrying in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is metallic or white in color, or white tipped with red, the driver of every vehicle approaching in said intersection or crosswalk shall take such precautions as may be necessary to avoid injuring or endangering such pedestrian, and if injury or danger to such pedestrian can be avoided only by bringing his vehicle to a full stop, he shall bring his said vehicle to a full stop.  The word “vehicle,” when used in this section, does not include a train operated on railroad tracks.

(2) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to deprive any totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated person, not carrying such a cane or walking stick or not being guided by a dog, of the rights and privileges conferred by law upon pedestrians crossing streets or highways.  The failure of such totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated person to carry a cane or walking stick or to be guided by a guide dog upon the streets, highways or sidewalks of this state, shall not be held to constitute or be evidence of contributory negligence.

(3) It shall be unlawful for any person, unless totally or partially blind or otherwise incapacitated, while on any public street or highway, to carry in a raised or extended position a cane or walking stick which is metallic or white in color, or white tipped with red.

(4) The violation of any provision of this section shall be punishable by a fine of not more than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than ten (10) days.

(1) An individual shall not do either of the following:

(a) Willfully and maliciously assault, beat, harass, injure, or attempt to assault, beat, harass or injure, a dog that he or she knows or has reason to believe is a guide or leader dog for a blind individual, a hearing dog for a deaf or audibly impaired individual, a service dog for a physically limited individual, or a support dog for a mobility impaired person as described in Sections 43-6-151 through 43-6-155.

(b) Willfully and maliciously impede or interfere with, or attempt to impede or interfere with, duties performed by a dog that he or she knows or has reason to believe is a guide or leader dog for a blind individual, a hearing dog for a deaf or audibly impaired individual, a service dog for a physically limited individual, or a support dog for a mobility impaired person as described in Sections 43-6-151 through 43-6-155.

(2) An individual who violates subsection (1) is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than ninety (90) days or a fine of not more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or both.

(3) In a prosecution for a violation of subsection (1), evidence that the defendant initiated or continued conduct directed toward a dog described in subsection (1) after being requested to avoid or discontinue that conduct or similar conduct by a blind, deaf, audibly impaired, physically limited or mobility impaired individual being served or assisted by the dog shall give rise to a rebuttable presumption that the conduct was initiated or continued maliciously.

(4) A conviction and imposition of a sentence under this section does not prevent a conviction and imposition of a sentence under Section 97-41-16 pertaining to the offenses of simple or aggravated cruelty to a dog or cat, or any other applicable provision of law.

(5) As used in this section:

(a) “Audibly impaired” means the inability to hear air conduction thresholds at an average of forty (40) decibels or greater in the individual’s better ear.

(b) “Blind” means having a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the individual’s better eye with correction, or having a limitation of the individual’s field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angular distance not greater than twenty (20) degrees.

(c) “Deaf” means the individual’s hearing is totally impaired or the individual’s hearing, with or without amplification, is so seriously impaired that the primary means of receiving spoken language is through other sensory input, including, but not limited to, lip reading, sign language, finger spelling or reading.

(d) “Harass” means to engage in any conduct directed toward a guide, leader, hearing or service dog that is likely to impede or interfere with the dog’s performance of its duties or that places the blind, deaf, audibly impaired or physically limited individual being served or assisted by the dog in danger of injury.

(e) “Injure” means to cause any physical injury to a dog described in subsection (1).

(f) “Maliciously” means any of the following:

(i) With intent to assault, beat, harass or injure a dog described in subsection (1).

(ii) With intent to impede or interfere with duties performed by a dog described in subsection (1).

(iii) With intent to disturb, endanger or cause emotional distress to a blind, deaf, audibly impaired or physically limited individual being served or assisted by a dog described in subsection (1).

(iv) With knowledge that the individual’s conduct will, or is likely to, harass or injure a dog described in subsection (1).

(v) With knowledge that the individual’s conduct will, or is likely to, impede or interfere with duties performed by a dog described in subsection (1).

(vi) With knowledge that the individual’s conduct will, or is likely to, disturb, endanger or cause emotional distress to a blind, deaf, audibly impaired or physically limited individual being served or assisted by a dog described in subsection (1).

(g) “Physically limited” means having limited ambulatory abilities and includes, but is not limited to, having a temporary or permanent impairment or condition that does one or more of the following:

(i) Causes the individual to use a wheelchair or walk with difficulty or insecurity.

(ii) Affects sight or hearing to the extent that an individual is insecure or exposed to danger.

(iii) Causes faulty coordination.

(iv) Reduces mobility, flexibility, coordination or perceptiveness.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to willfully and maliciously taunt, torment, tease, beat, strike, or to administer, expose or inject any desensitizing drugs, chemicals or substance to any public service animal.  Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not more than Two Hundred Dollars ($200.00) and be imprisoned not more than five (5) days, or both.

(2) Any person who, without just cause, purposely kills or injures any public service animal is guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) and be imprisoned not more than five (5) years, or both.

(3) For purposes of this section, the term “public service animal” means any animal trained and used to assist a law enforcement agency, public safety entity or search and rescue agency.

(4) A conviction and imposition of a sentence under this section does not prevent a conviction and imposition of a sentence under Section 97-41-16 pertaining to the offenses of simple or aggravated cruelty to a dog or cat, or under any other applicable provision of law.

(5) Any person guilty of violating subsection (2) of this section shall also be required to make restitution to the law enforcement agency or owner aggrieved thereby.

(6) The provisions of this section shall not apply to the lawful practice of veterinary medicine.