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Wash. High Court Rules Comfort Dog In Court Was OK

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The state Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the presence of a “comfort” dog during courtroom testimony from a developmentally disabled victim did not violate the defendant’s right to a fair trial.

In its ruling Thursday, the high court affirmed a previous Court of Appeals ruling that found that the use of Ellie, a golden retriever who is used by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office in cases usually involving children, did not create a bias against Timothy Dye, who was convicted in 2010 in Seattle of burglary.

Ellie sat by Douglas Lare during his testimony. Lare, who 56, suffers from developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy, and functions at a mental age ranging from 6 to 12 years old, the court wrote.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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