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How to Get Your Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi Certified

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In Mississippi there are both state and federal laws that protect the use of Emotional Support Animals, but not everyone is fully on board with them. For many people across the U.S., their furry friend provides a priceless form of emotional support to overcome life’s ups and downs. Despite this being the case, it is important to remember that attempting to pass off an uncertified animal as a service animal or Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi can lead to legal and financial repercussions.

Landlords must follow both state and federal support animal regulations. Not complying can result in legal troubles for said landlord. While ESAs don’t have the same rights as Psychiatric Service Animals (PSAs), they are protected against discrimination in rental properties by the federal Fair Housing Act. 

American Service Pets is here for anyone who may have or be in need of an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi. We can help secure the necessary certification paperwork, allowing individual to rent a home, travel, and enjoy public access with their animals. Say goodbye to worries about “pet rent” and additional charges and find out if you qualify for a certified Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi with our simple quiz.

The Benefits of Emotional Support Animals

State and federal governments support ESAs as a right for people struggling with psychological trauma. ESAs can be a variety of animals, from birds to reptiles to amphibians, so long as they bring comfort and support. Psychiatric Service Animals, on the other hand, are typically dogs due to their high trainability.

A number of people depend on their Emotional Support Animals to assist them in everyday life. These furry friends provide myriad physical and psychological benefits to their owners, such as:

Mental & Emotional Health Boost

Caring for an animal you love provides a natural boost of the mood lifters serotonin and dopamine. Interacting with a pet can also be a positive stimulus that breaks through the negative thought cycles of people who struggle with depression. Pets help alleviate feelings of loneliness — and they can make us smile!

Natural Form of Treatment

These days, Americans are looking for natural, drug-free ways methods of staying healthy. Emotional Support Animals can be this holistic treatment for some people struggling with anxiety, stress, and depression. By caring for a pet, it’s likely that you’ll engage in more outdoor activity as well, which can also help mitigate depressive symptoms.

Comforting Companion

Issues such as financial matters, relationships, and health concerns have the potential to be overwhelming. For some, simply cuddling and playing with a furry friend can reduce heart rate, blood pressure, and stress.

Numerous people rely on their Emotional Support Animal. American Service Pets offers the ability to secure paperwork for those with an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi. Find out if you qualify in just a few short minutes. 

Laws Surrounding Emotional Support Animals in Mississippi

Emotional Support Animals are loyal companions in the lives of their owner, but they are not trained to perform life-saving tasks or provide assistance to the disabled the way Psychiatric Service Animals are. As a result, ESAs and PSAs are granted similar but slightly different rights under the law.

Certified ESAs are somewhat protected under the law, but there are no special provisions for uncertified animals in Mississippi. Official paperwork should include the approval of a healthcare professional in Mississippi. While this paperwork can often be used all over the country, it’s important to note that different states have different regulations, so it’s important to double check before traveling. Here are a few laws that pertain to having an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi: 

Housing Laws

Landlords may not turn down anyone for simply having an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi. This policy is in place for apartments, houses, public housing units, and condos. Landlords may not apply extra charge for ESAs either, and generally they are required to allow the animals unless they cause an “undue financial burden.”

The meaning of undue financial burden can vary in Mississippi, but it can include:

  • Property damage
  • Threat to any other tenants
  • Homeowner allergies
Mississippi- ESA

It is within the rights of landlords in Mississippi to request paperwork for your ESA. While there is no law in Mississippi officially criminalizing the presentation of false ESA documents or attempts to pass off a pet as an ESA or PSA, doing so is unethical and could potentially cross into fraud territory.

Mississippi- ESA

Public Access

State and federal laws do not grant Emotional Support Animals the same public access rights as Psychiatric Service Animals. In terms of ESAs, the venue owner has the final say. There are parks and public accommodations out there that permit animals, but if you are unsure, you should contact the venue in advance to see if your ESA will be permitted.

Workplace Laws

Mississippi employers are not legally obligated to allow Emotional Support Animals in their facilities. That being said, you may be able to sway a lenient employer by presenting a valid ESA letter. If this is the case, the employer could potentially let the animal be present in the workplace, provided it is well-behaved and housebroken.

Mississippi- ESA
Mississippi- ESA

Travel Laws

Emotional Support Animals are no longer allowed in the cabin during air travel. Public transportation services such as buses, trains, and railways are under no legal obligation to board ESAs. Some rideshare companies such as Uber and Lyft have less stringent policies, but you have to check ahead of time. 

American Service Pets is proud to provide a simple three-step process to ESA letters in Mississippi for owners needing the support of their pets.

FAQ
The Basics

Does the state have its own laws in addition to federal legislature?

Yes, in addition to following the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Mississippi has its own set of housing and public accommodations laws. Mississippi’s public accommodations laws are more limited than the ADA, but the state must still comply with federal laws. As a result, qualified individuals may follow the laws that give them the most coverage.

Definition of a "Service Animal"

Mississippi law refers to service animals as “support animals,” but the definition in this case matches that of other states’ definitions of “service animals”: an animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability.

What is considered a disability in the state?

Disabilities that may qualify an individual for a service animal can be physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or mental. Service animals can help with a variety of disability related tasks, including, but not limited to guiding the visually impaired or blind, alerting hearing impaired or deaf individuals of sounds, pulling a wheelchair, detecting the onset of a seizure, alerting an individual to the presence of allergens, providing physical support to an individual with a mobility disability, helping an individual with a psychiatric or neurological disability, or calming an individual with PTSD during an anxiety attack.

What animals qualify as a service animal?

Under both Mississippi and federal law, service animals are limited to dogs and miniature horses.

Are there penalties for falsly claiming or implying (such as with a service animal harness), that one's animal is a service animal?

Mississippi does not currently have a law in place against service animal fraud.

Do state laws provide coverage for service animals in training?

Yes. According to Mississippi law, “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.”

Do state laws provide coverage for Emotional Support Animals?

Mississippi law does note that comfort and therapy animals are included under the umbrella term “support animals.” However, emotional support animals do not generally have the same rights as service animals when it comes to public accommodations due to the fact that they are untrained, so it may be helpful to do some additional research into an establishment you intend to visit beforehand.

FAQ
Public Accommodations & Travel with a Service Animal

What counts as a "public accommodation" in the state? Ie. Where are service dogs allowed?

Mississippi allows individuals to be accompanied by service animals on all forms of public transportation, in all hotels, lodgings, and businesses that are open to the public and sell goods or services, all places of public accommodation, amusement, or resort, and all places to which the general public is invited. The ADA further broadens this definition by including libraries, museums, educational institutions, and social service centers like senior centers, homeless shelters, and food banks.

Can a public establishment question a service animal?

Establishments may only ask whether or not the animal is a service animal and what task(s) it performs.

Are there any exceptions to public accommodations allowances?

Service animals may be denied or removed from a public accommodation if they post a direct threat to health and safety, are not housebroken, or are out of control. Even if the service animal is restricted, its handler may still enter the premises without the animal.

What are the rules regarding service animals on public transportation?

Service animals are allowed to accompany their handlers on “all public conveyances, such as buses and taxis.” However, the animal may not occupy a seat in the public conveyance.

Are there any special measures you must take to have a service animal assisting you in public?

The service animal must be on a leash or otherwise under control in an appropriate manner while in a public accommodation or while on public transportation with its handler. If a leash would impair the service animal from properly doing its tasks, another form of control, such as verbal commands, may be used.

Are there laws about service animals in the workplace?

Employees may request use of a service animal as a reasonable accommodation from their employer, and employers may not discriminate against those with a disability when making employment-related decisions. The only time use of a service animal in the workplace may be restricted is if its presence would cause undue hardship or alter the nature of the business.

Are service animals allowed access to healthcare facilities?

Generally service animals are allowed to be in areas of healthcare facilties that are open to the public, such as patient rooms or waiting areas. However, they may be barred from areas where the animal’s presence could compromise sterility, such as operating rooms or burn units.

Yes. Any person or business who denies or interferes with access to public accommodations for a service animal and its handler is guilty of a misdemeanor. The fine upon conviction is up to $100 or imprisonment for up to 60 days (or both).

How do airlines determine what qualifies as a service animal?

Airlines can require a passenger to provide a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) form attesting to the animal’s health, behavior, and training and a U.S. DOT form attesting that the animal can either not relieve itself or can relieve itself in a sanitary manner (if the animal will be on a flight that is 8 or more hours).

Mississippi follows the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA), which defines a service animal as a dog (regardless of breed or size) trained to do work or perform tasks to assist a qualified individual with a diability, and may include psychiatric service dogs. Minature horses are excluded in this definition.

Are service animals in-training covered by this law?

The ACAA does not address service animals in-training, so airlines are not required to carry them as they do not meet the requirements of an ACAA-defined service animal. However, airlines can make their own individual policies.

FAQ
Housing Law

What are the state's laws regarding housing and service animals?

If you or someone residing with you has a disability, a reasonable accommodation may be requested from the landlord per the federal Fair Housing Act (FHA). The use of a service animal without fees or in a building that otherwise prohibits animals qualifies as a reasonable accommodation. Landlords may ask for a letter from a qualified medical professional explaining the disability-related need for the animal if this is not evident.

Am I liable for damage caused by my service animal?

While a landlord may not charge increased rent or additional “pet fees,” you may be liable for any damage caused to the property by your service animal beyond normal wear and tear.

Do housing laws extend to ESAs?

Yes. The FHA provides coverage for both service animals and emotional support animals.

FAQ
Discrimination Complaints

How can I file a complaint for not being allowed in a public accommodation with my service dog?

For public accommodations discrimination, you can file a complalint through the ADA online or via mail or fax. Following the filing of your complaint, the ADA will investigate and may contact you for further information or refer you to the appropriate agency to handle your situation. Beyond the ADA, there are also more local organizations or advocacy groups that may be able to help as well, such as the Disability Rights Mississippi. If you have been discriminated against in the workplace, you should file a complaint within 180 days of the alleged incident through the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES). You can do this by calling 601-321-6021, emailing eo@mdes.ms.gov, or filling out an online complaint form.

How can I file a complaint for not being allowed to have my service dog in housing (or for being forced to pay a fee to a landlord)?

If you believe you have experienced discrimination in terms of housing, you can file a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To contact the Mississippi branch of HUD, you can call 601-965-4762 (or toll-free at 1-800-668-9777). You can also fill out a housing discrimination form to submit your complaint. Complaint must be submitted within 180 days of the alleged incident.

How to Get Certified for an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi

American Service Pets provides you with a fast, simple process to certification for your Emotional Support Animal. Just follow these easy steps:

Find Out if You Qualify

It couldn’t be easier  all you have to do for this step is fill out our brief American Service Pets questionnaire to determine if you meet the criteria to qualify for an official ESA letter. This step only takes a few minutes.

Get a Doctor's Approval

American Service Pets puts the power in your hands by allowing you to choose whether you want to file with your own doctor or with a healthcare professional within our network for approval and authorization. We have a network of doctors available 24/7.

Have Your Pet Added to the National Directory

Adding your pet to the national directory of Emotional Support Animals allows you to create an online profile showing your pet’s status and ESA letter.

95% of our applicants qualify for an ESA letter. You can get yours with American Service Pets today.

The American Service Pets Advantage

The network of pet owners who have certified their Emotional Support Animals with American Service Pets is now over 45,000 strong. Here’s why you should choose American Service Pets for your ESA and PSA needs:

How To Get Your Emotional Support Animal Letter in Wisconsin with American Service Pets

Our simple process alleviates worries about being separated from your animal or being punished for having one. Get started by taking our short online test.

Nationwide Experts in Emotional Support Animal Certification

You shouldn’t have to deal with hassling from people who don’t understand the health benefits of the connection you share with your ESA. That’s why American Service Pets is here to help you register your Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi. Now you can set aside your concerns about housing fees if you have an ESA. If you qualify, you could get certified in just a few minutes with American Service Pets.

Disclaimer: We would like to emphasize that while the terms “certification” or “registration” may be used in relation to Emotional Support Animals, there is no official certification process for ESAs or any form of ESA registry as of this date. As such, the use of these terms should not be interpreted as legally recognized designations by government or regulatory authorities. Remember, ESAs can provide a valuable source of comfort and support, but their recognition relies on proper documentation from a healthcare professional and adherence to relevant laws and guidelines.

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