Emotional support, therapy and companion dogs in court

“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.” [AP/WTOP]


  • Dogs have been companions for thousands of years.
    I have had two dog guides (the proper generic for what people usually call seeing eye dogs or guide dogs, both company names). I had no issue following them to class and other short term locations. I didn’t however extend that to an eight hour job. It’s just not fair on the dog, and I had alternatives. After all, I was dropped at the front door by my wife and just had to walk thru the building partially, no big deal.
    These folks who want to bring their dog to court need to think a bit more about the dog and a bit less about themselves. Just my $.02

    • I don’t think there’s significant opposition to guide dogs for the blind. It’s “emotional support” animals that aren’t really medically justified that’s causing a problem.

      • The big problem, is that some “emotional support” animals are in fact medically justified, but it’s impossible to tell the cases that are from the cases that aren’t without a lot of documentation that is illegal to ask for in most cases.

  • Cecil,
    Just wanted to say how much I appreciate reading your views, even when I have a somewhat different (in degree, typically, not in kind) policy preference. You have a perspective I can’t (thankfully) imagine on my own, and raise considerations I’d not have thought of.

  • I had an ADA-compliance training that I remember learning feom it that “emotional support animals” is only recognized as a legal concept (at least Federally) in the housing arena, and for ADA purposes only people using dogs trained to perform a specific, describable task get any protection. Is that right, or did either the class or my memory fail me?

  • It’s becoming a big nuisance on planes. On an international flight last week there was a dog (wearing a vest that said “emotional support animal”) that clearly wasn’t a well trained dog. Barking and distracted. And the woman who was with it was a piece of work, too.

    If I’m ever on trial for anything, I’d love to have an adorable (well-behaved) puppy beside me!