Bella, a 2-month-old therapy dog in training, in December. The Florida Senate on Thursday gave the thumbs-up to allow such dogs in court for children testifying in abuse, abandonment and neglect cases, sending the bill to Gov. Rick Scott's desk. (File/WUFT News)

Florida Senate Passes Bill To Allow Therapy Animals In Court

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TALLAHASSEE — Children testifying in court in abuse, abandonment and neglect cases would be allowed the help of therapy animals under a bill heading to Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously Thursday a week after the House also unanimously passed it.

It expands a law that already allows therapy animals for victims testifying in sexual-offense cases.

A legislative analysis of the bill says that research has shown animals reduce stress in children, and three Florida district courts that have allowed them have reported positive results.

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