State Supreme Court to decide on support dogs for witnesses
Prosecutors in Michigan say adult witnesses should be able to use emotional support dogs in courts.
Prosecutors in Ingham County have filed an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court.
The Court of Appeals said allowing an able-bodied adult to testify with a dog would be an unprecedented change. They said it could only happen through legislation, court rule, or a decision from the Supreme Court.
So prosecutors are trying to get Michigan’s highest court to rule.
They say support dogs are an unobtrusive way to get a witness to open up and reveal the truth in court.
Michael Sepic is the Berrien County Prosecutor. Their office has had support dog, Mr. Weeber, since 2014.
“The worst thing that happens, and Mr. Weeber does it occasionally, he’ll start snoring,” Sepic said. “There’s nothing about the dog that can twist and turn facts and encourage them to say, you know, things that are embellished or things like that. The dog is just sitting there.”
Opponents of support dogs say they could sway the jury to find the witness more credible because they have a dog with them.