Former Hurricane cop wants compensated for care of police dog

By Kyla Asbury | Apr 30, 2013

WINFIELD - A former patrolman is suing the City of Hurricane and its police department for failing to compensate him for the time he spent caring for a police dog.

Jason Kerr was hired by the defendants as an officer/patrolman in September 2008 and was promoted and/or reclassified as a patrolman/K-9 officer in May 2010, according to a complaint filed April 24 in Putnam Circuit Court.

Kerr claims as part of his responsibilities, he was to personally care for his K-9 companion, including taking the dog home each evening and off-day, grooming the dog and generally caring for the dog on a daily basis.

The defendants had compensated previous K-9 officers for time spent performing daily care and were aware of their obligation to do so with Kerr, but during Kerr's tenure, he was not compensated for any time spent grooming, training or caring for the dog, according to the suit.

Kerr claims he worked as a patrolman/K-9 officer for approximately three years, during which he cared for, groomed and/or trained the K-9.

The defendants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by failing to compensate Kerr for the time spent caring for, grooming and/or training the dog, according to the suit.

Kerr claims the defendants' actions caused him to suffer a loss of pay; physical pain and emotional suffering; inconvenience; mental anguish; loss of enjoyment of life; and other non-pecuniary losses.

The defendants also violated the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act  by failing to compensate Kerr for the care of the dog, according to the suit, which entitles him to compensation and an amount equal to three times those unpaid wages.

Kerr is seeking judgment for a sum of money equal to the value of all unpaid wages in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act; liquidated damages as provided by FLSA and WVWPCA; and compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by Stephen P. New of the Law Offices of Stephen New and Stephen B. Farmer and Matthew H. Nelson of Farmer, Cline & Campbell PLLC.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Phillip Stowers.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 13-C-121

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