Comfort dogs

Christian Science Monitor: “As dogs and other animals are increasingly used in courts to comfort and calm prosecution witnesses, a few voices are calling for keeping the practice on a short leash, saying they could bias juries. The use of dogs in courts has spread quickly across the United States amid a growing number of laws and rulings in its favor – and, outside of the legal world, a significant increase in the use of emotional support animals by the public. There are now more than 155 “courthouse facility dogs” working in 35 states, compared with 41 dogs in 19 states five years ago, according to the Courthouse Dogs Foundation in Bellevue, Wash. And that’s not counting an untold number of “emotional support dogs” that have been allowed case by case in many states. Many witnesses have been child sexual assault victims. There has been a divide among judges, however, with some not allowing dogs because of potential bias against…

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