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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.Having dogs and other emotional support animals in the witness box can illegitimately boost witness credibility and prejudice juries against defendants, Denver defense lawyer Christopher Decker argues. He has unsuccessfully fought the use of dogs in criminal trials several times.At least eight states have laws allowing the use of dogs to comfort children and other vulnerable witnesses. Similar proposed laws are pending in at least another four states, while court rulings in a handful of states have set precedents allowing the use of emotional support dogs.One jurisdiction in Australia recently rejected emotional support dogs in courts, The Canberra Times reported .Advocates say defense concerns can be resolved by placing dogs so they cannot be seen by juries and having judges tell jurors the dog is there but not to make any conclusions about it.
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