Lawyers' appeal says presence of therapy dog taints trial

Dutchess County, N.Y., prosecutors won a guilty verdict in a June rape trial that included a therapy dog that sat with and comforted the 15-year-old victim as she testified. Now, defense lawyers are arguing in their appeal that the presence of the dog, which sometimes nudged the victim when she hesitated in her testimony, unfairly swayed the jury. Therapy dogs first started going to court with traumatized victims in 2003 in a Seattle sexual-assault case.

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