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Mississippi

Consolidated Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: MS ST 43-6-151 to 43-6-155; 97-41-21; 63-3-1111

Citation: Miss. Code Ann. 43-6-1 to 43-6-155; 97-41-21; 63-3-1111


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 01/2013

Summary:  

The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.



Statute in Full:

West’s Annotated Mississippi Code. Title 97. Crimes. Chapter 41. Cruelty to Animals

§ 97-41-21. Harassment of guide dogs 

West's Annotated Mississippi Code. Title 43. Public Welfare. Chapter 6. Rights and Liabilities of Blind and Other Handicapped Persons.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 43-6-1. Definitions

§ 43-6-3. Right to use public places

§ 43-6-5. Right to full, equal access

§ 43-6-7. Guide and hearing ear dogs

§ 43-6-9. Pedestrians; rights and privileges

§ 43-6-11. Sanctions

§ 43-6-13. Annual White Cane Safety Day

§ 43-6-15. Employment discrimination

Article 5. Mississippi Support Animal Act

§ 43-6-151. Short title

§ 43-6-153. Definitions

§ 43-6-155. Guide, leader and listener dogs or other animals

West’s Annotated Mississippi Code. Title 63. Motor Vehicles & Traffic Regulations. Chapter 3. Traffic Regulations and Rules of the Road. Article 23. Pedestrians' Rights and Duties

§ 63-3-1111. White canes or guide dogs

 

 West’s Annotated Mississippi Code. Title 97. Crimes. Chapter 41. Cruelty to Animals

§ 97-41-21. Harassment of guide dogs

(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.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1997, Ch. 426, § 1, eff. from and after passage (approved March 25, 1997). Amended by Laws 2011, Ch. 536, § 8, eff. from and after passage (approved April 26, 2011).

West's Annotated Mississippi Code. Title 43. Public Welfare. Chapter 6. Rights and Liabilities of Blind and Other Handicapped Persons.

Article 1. General Provisions.

§ 43-6-1. Definitions

As used in this article, "blind," "totally blind," "visually handicapped," and "partially blind" mean having central visual acuity not to exceed 20/200 in the better eye, with corrected lenses as measured by the Snellen test, or having visual acuity greater than 20/200, but with a limitation in the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle not greater than twenty (20) degrees.

As used in this article, "deaf person" means a person who cannot readily understand spoken language through hearing alone with or without a hearing aid, and who may also have a speech defect which renders his speech unintelligible to most people with normal hearing.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1972, Ch. 451, § 5; Laws 1978, Ch. 402, § 1, eff. from and after passage (approved March 23, 1978).

 

§ 43-6-3. Right to use public places

Blind persons, visually handicapped persons, deaf persons and other physically disabled persons shall have the same right as the able-bodied to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, and other public places.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1972, Ch. 451, § 1; Laws 1978, Ch. 402, § 2, eff. from and after passage (approved March 23, 1978).

 

§ 43-6-5. Right to full, equal access

Blind persons, visually handicapped persons, deaf persons and other physically disabled persons shall be entitled to full and equal access, as are other members of the general public, to accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of all common carriers, airplanes, motor vehicles, railroad trains, motorbuses, streetcars, boats or any other public conveyances or modes of transportation, hotels, lodging places, places of public accommodation, amusement or resort, and other places to which the general public is invited, subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law, or state or federal regulation, and applicable alike to all persons.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1972, Ch. 451, § 2; Laws 1978, Ch. 402, § 3, eff. from and after passage (approved March 23, 1978).

 

§ 43-6-7. Guide and hearing ear dogs

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.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1972, Ch. 451, § 3; Laws 1978, Ch. 402, § 4, eff. from and after passage (approved March 23, 1978).

 

§ 43-6-9. Pedestrians; rights and privileges

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.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1972, Ch. 451, § 4; Laws 1978, Ch. 402, § 5, eff. from and after passage (approved March 23, 1978).

 

§ 43-6-11. Sanctions

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 to 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.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1972, Ch. 451, § 7; Laws 1978, Ch. 402, § 6, eff. from and after passage (approved March 23, 1978).

 

§ 43-6-13. Annual White Cane Safety Day

Each year the governor shall publicly proclaim October 15 as White Cane Safety Day. He shall issue a proclamation in which:

(a) Comments shall be made upon the significance of this article.

(b) Citizens of the state are called upon to observe the provisions of this article and to take precautions necessary to the safety of disabled persons.

(c) Citizens of the state are reminded of the policies with respect to disabled persons declared in this article and be urged to cooperate in giving effect to them.

(d) Emphasis shall be made on the need of the citizenry to be aware of the presence of disabled persons in the community and to keep safe and functional for the disabled the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, public facilities, other public places, places of public accommodation, amusement and resort, and other places to which the public is invited, and to offer assistance to disabled persons upon appropriate occasions.

(e) It is the policy of this state to encourage and enable blind persons, visually handicapped persons, and other physically disabled persons to participate fully in the social and economic life of the state and to engage in remunerative employment.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1972, Ch. 451, § 6, eff. from and after passage (approved May 5, 1972).

 

§ 43-6-15. Employment discrimination

No person shall be refused employment in state services, the service of political subdivisions of the state, in public schools, or any other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds, by reason of his being blind, visually handicapped, deaf, or otherwise physically handicapped, unless such disability shall materially affect the performance of the work required by the job for which such person applies.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1974, Ch. 381, § 1; Laws 1978, Ch. 402, § 7, eff. from and after passage (approved March 23, 1978).

 

Article 5. Mississippi Support Animal Act.
§ 43-6-151. Short title

Sections 43-6-151 through 43-6-155 shall be known as and may be cited as the “Mississippi Support Animal Act.”

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1989, Ch. 386, § 1, eff. July 1, 1989; Laws 2000, Ch. 523, § 1, eff. July 1, 2000.
 
 
§ 43-6-153. Definitions

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.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1989, Ch. 386, § 2, eff. July 1, 1989.
 
 
§ 43-6-155. Guide, leader and listener dogs or other animals

(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.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1989, Ch. 386, § 3, eff. July 1, 1989; Laws 1999, Ch. 478, § 1, eff. July 1, 1999; Laws 2000, Ch. 523, § 2, eff. July 1, 2000.
 

West’s Annotated Mississippi Code. Title 63. Motor Vehicles & Traffic Regulations. Chapter 3. Traffic Regulations and Rules of the Road. Article 23. Pedestrians' Rights and Duties

§ 63-3-1111. White canes or guide dogs

(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.

CREDIT(S)

Laws 1950, Ch. 330, §§ 1 to 4, eff. from and after passage (approved March 29, 1950).



 



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