Appeals court rules service dog can comfort witness in trial

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – A state court has rejected the claim of a convicted rapist who filed an appeal arguing a trial court was wrong for allowing a service dog to be present while his victim testified.

The Commercial Appeal reports ( that the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals made their ruling this week.

According to court record, in 2014 the 10-year-old victim in the case had been anxious about testifying. After spending time with Murch, a 5-year-old trained Labrador retriever, the boy calmed down and was able talk.

Defedant Jose Reyes argued that the presence of the dog would be “overly prejudicial” to him, but the trial court allowed Murch to be by the victim’s side while he testified.

Judge Alan Glenn says the Court of Criminal Appeals didn’t believe the trial court abused its discretion in permitting Murch during the trial.