The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has said yes to canines in the courtroom under certain conditions.
The justices ruled Wednesday that a trial witness may be accompanied by a “comfort dog” if the animal will help coax reliable, complete and truthful testimony. The precedent-setting opinion establishes a “balancing test” for Pennsylvania judges confronted with such a request.
Ruling unanimously in a murder case, the Supreme Court pointed to other states that allow witnesses to testify with the help of emotional support dogs. The justices said it’s permissible, as long as steps are taken to minimize any potential prejudice to a defendant.