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Settlement reached in officer's dog suit

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

Penn Township tentatively has reached a settlement with a township police officer who sued to receive overtime pay for the at-home care of his now-retired police dog, federal court records show.

Attorneys for the township and officer Ross Piraino informed U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon last week that they reached an agreement. Court records did not list the details of the settlement, which commissioners will consider for approval at their Jan. 16 meeting.

“We will be releasing those (details) at the meeting next Wednesday,” Manager Bruce Light said.

Piraino's attorneys, Solomon Krevsky and Robert A. Jones, and the attorney for the township, Bernard Matthews, did not return messages requesting comment about the settlement.

In Piraino's suit, the officer said he wasn't compensated for maintaining, training and caring for the German shepherd. Township officials took the dog out of service last January after three years on the job and sold him to Piraino for $1.

Piraino said he was entitled to payment under the Fair Labor Standards Act for providing food and water, grooming and veterinary care for the dog.

Police Chief John Otto has said the dog had some issues with aggressive and inappropriate responses to commands. The dog was the only one affiliated with the department.

Otto has said he would be interested in resuming the police-dog program in the township. Commissioners included $4,500 in the 2013 police budget for a police-dogprogram.

Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or cforeman@tribweb.com.

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