- Associated Press - Thursday, July 28, 2016

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - A Blair police officer has sued the city for overtime he says he should be paid for taking care of his K-9 partner at home.

Sgt. Travis Lyon filed a federal lawsuit earlier this month, seeking compensation - with interest - for his work at home over the past three years. The lawsuit says that as a dog handler, Lyon must train, feed, water, groom and exercise his Belgian Malinois, Duke, at home.

City officials and lawyers declined to comment.

Regular officers can get as much as 73 cents more per hour for handling dogs, according to the Omaha World-Herald (https://bit.ly/2acJBmT ). But Lyon’s attorney, Gary Young, said there’s no extra compensation for sergeants such as Lyon.

“There was no longer any premium paid for that responsibility, and he has to work overtime doing it,” Young said. “As we understand it, the law requires the city to pay overtime for dog handling.”



The city pays for parts of the dog’s care, including veterinary bills, toys, food and water, Young said.

Nearby departments have a variety of plans to provide officers with extra pay for K-9 care.

Omaha Police Department dog handlers get a 3 percent pay boost, plus 30 minutes of regular pay per workday for taking care of the animal, but no overtime. Douglas County Sheriff’s Office dog handlers are compensated with six hours extra regular pay per week. The Sarpy County Sheriff’s Office gives handlers on-duty time to care for the animals and 30 minutes of overtime on their days off, plus a 3 percent pay boost.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, https://www.omaha.com

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