CHARLESTON – A former police officer is suing the City of Buckhannon after she claims she was not reimbursed for the money and time she spent caring for her police dog during her employment.

Matt Gregory, in his official capacity as the Chief of Police of Buckhannon Police Department, was also named as a defendant in the suit.

Loralie N. Hissam was employed by the City from August 2008 until Jan. 9, 2011, according to a complaint filed Jan. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.

Hissam claims as part of her duties as a canine police officer/canine handler, she was required to provide for the total care of a police dog, which was owned by the city and/or the police department, and that she spent at least one to three hours per day performing dog-related care of the canine police service animal during the time period of Jan. 19, 2009, until Jan. 9, 2011.

When Hissam resigned from her employment, the defendants did not pay any compensation for the at-home care and extra duties “incident to her assignment as a canine police officer/handler,” according to the suit.

Hissam claims the defendants’ actions violate state and federal policies.

The defendants are responsible for payment of overtime compensation, according to the suit, and the defendants’ failure to pay Hissam’s overtime wages for the at-home care, shelter, feeding and essential medical care is in violation of the U.S. Fair Labor and Standards Act.

Hissam claims she informed Gregory that she was not being fairly compensated for her extra duties and at-home care of the police dog, but Gregory failed to ensure that she was paid overtime compensation for her extra duties.

Since Gregory had direct knowledge that Hissam was not being paid overtime compensation for her extra duties, he and the City failed to initiate measures to correct the violation, according to the suit.

Hissam is seeking compensatory and liquidated damages with pre-judgment interest. She is being represented by William C. Forbes.

United State District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia case number: 2:13-cv-3

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