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 U.S. 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.
Facility dogs are trained to provide companionship without disruption in courthouses, prosecutors’ offices and other legal settings. They work at courthouses all day, then go home with their handlers. Emotional support and “therapy” dogs are pets that can be registered with organizations and may or may not have been specially trained.