For those who are looking at getting an emotional support animal in Mississippi, there are main laws you must know and to understand in order to travel and live with your ESA.
Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi: Specific Protection
For those looking for an emotional support animal in Mississippi, they need to know just what defines this and the rules that are going to pertain to owning this animal.
Although emotional support animals do not have the same rights as service dogs under ADA, they are protected under the Fair Housing Amendment Act (FHAA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).”
Definition of Assistance Animal
What is an assistance animal?
An assistance animal is a service dog or an emotional support animal recommended by a medical professional which assists a person in need. Emotional Support Animals in Mississippi are often given to those who have social, mental or other psychological issues that require having a companion around them at all times.
Many assistance animals are often thought to be dogs, but that’s not always the case.
An ESA can be any animal as long as the patient displays that they require the animal for bettering their health. It should be noted that an ESA is not specifically trained to be there for its owner, it simply provides emotional support for the person.
Whereas a service animal has been trained for a specific behavior such as helping a blind person to walk, to notice the signs of seizures before they happen and the like.
People who suffer from issues such as PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, stress disorders, anxiety, often qualify for an emotional support animal in Mississippi. These support animals simply provide comfort to the person and have been shown to greatly increase a person’s quality of life.
How to get an Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi: CertaPet’s Simple 5 Minute Process
For those who are looking to get an ESA, they will find that CertaPet has a simple five-minute pre-screening process that will give you all the information that you need.
You will first need a prescription letter from your healthcare provider. This guide simply collects tiny bits of information to see if you are a candidate for an ESA, then go on to explain how to get a suitable ESA. It takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.
Travel Laws (Air Carrier Access Act)
You can get covered for taking an emotional support animal in Mississippi on a flight with you in the cabin thanks to the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). However, this does not mean that you can always take your emotional support animal with you on a flight. In most cases, an airline will allow this if you have the following information:
1 ) A letter from a mental health professional that will show that you are under their care, list the issue that you suffer with and how the emotional support dog or animal is a must for your mental health.
2) Required forms by the airline, which you will need to check with the individual airline to find this out
3) Most importantly, you must do this at least 48 hours before your flight to get approved.
Due to an ESA not being supported by many laws, it is also not something that was included in any employment laws within Mississippi.
While laws cover service animals, stating that a person cannot be denied a job if they have a service animal, as this is all apart of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, an ESA is not thought of.
Can an employer forbid you from being this ESA into the workplace? Yes!
But, he or she can always allow this if you explain the reason. Keep in mind, that while the employer cannot fire you or not hire you because they believe you have a mental disability if you were to bring the ESA into the workplace, they can fire you if you do not have permission.
This is something that you will have to talk to your employer about and explain the reasoning behind this animal.
Housing Laws (Fair Housing Act)
According to the Fair Housing Act, an ESA is allowed to stay with their owner, even if the landlord does not allow pets – just make sure you have your legal emotional support animal letter.
This is the law within every state of the United States to ensure that landlords cannot discriminate against those who need their pet for emotional stability or for other disabilities that they may have.
It simply requires that you have a letter from our mental health professional stating that the animal is an ESA and is needed by you, the patient.
ESA Campus Housing
According to most colleges, if the college student has a note from their doctor that states an ESA is needed, they have to let this animal stay in campus housing. However, this is up to the individual college, as there are really no rules that make these colleges do this.
The student has to prove that their condition is greatly enhanced by the presence of the animal in order to win approval of having this animal in campus housing.
Exceptions to the Rules
While these rules are in place to help a person who has an ESA, it should be noted that there are some exceptions to these rules. These exceptions include:
- If your animal harms someone else, they can be denied in public spaces and you may have to pay for any damages that occur
- If the animal has a mean demeanor towards others, you can be asked to leave the establishment and to not return with said animal
Punishment for Misrepresenting an Assistance Animal
If you were to lie about having a mental issue and needing an ESA, that is considered a Class A infraction in most states throughout the US. This can mean a fine that is up to $10,000.
In addition, if you have an animal and put these animals into the vests that are meant to show they are a service animal or ESA, this is breaking the law and the punishment can be quite severe.
3 Facts You Need to Know Before Receiving Your ESA
If you are ready to get an ESA, here are 3 important facts you need to know:
- The letter that you get is for you, showing that you need an ESA. It is not a letter for that specific animal that provides this comfort.
- Do not buy into the idea that you have to get an animal ESA certified. There is no such thing, but this type of scam is running rampant online.
- Any pet can be an ESA. Emotional support cats even!
Where to Find a Suitable ESA!
Finding a suitable ESA is nothing more than finding an animal that you get along with and bonds well with you. These animals do not require specific training; thus, they can be found at your local animal shelter.
Where to Take your Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi
When looking at where to take your emotional support animal in Mississippi, there are several places to consider. Here are a few:
Dog Parks and Dog Runs
These parks are great for emotional support dogs:
- Petal Dog Park
- BREE’s Bark Park at CARA
- Old Trace Dog Park
- Moncrief Park Dog Park
Check with your local area to see what dog parks they have, and or talk to your city about getting a dog park started where animals can run free.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants and Bars
A few restaurants:
- Shaggy’s Biloxi Beach
- The Shed BBQ & Blues Joint
- The Keg and Barrel
- Walker’s Drive-In
- The Dock Bar & Grill
- Mosaics Tapas Restaurant
And many more.
Resorts, Fitness, and Spas
These hotels, B&B’s and campgrounds are dog-friendly in Mississippi:
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Biloxi has a no pet fee
- Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
- Harrah’s Gulf Coast
- GardenSong B&B
- Bay Hide Away Inc
- Percy Quin Campground
- Shepard State Park Campground
And there are many more!
Events come up throughout the year that is dog-friendly. One event is the Racing for Paws 5K in Batesville, Mississippi. When events are announced, don’t be afraid to contact the event coordinator to ask if ESA’s are allowed to attend.
Emotional Support Animal in Mississippi: How to Get Connected with an LMHP in Your State Today!
When getting an emotional support animal in Mississippi, getting connected with a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) is a must.
How can you do this?
Through CertaPet! Take our five-minute pre-screening to see whether you qualify for an emotional support dog, cat or another animal.
If you are eligible for an ESA, CertaPet will then link you up with a licensed mental health professional in New York and you will be well on your way to getting your emotional support animal!