K-9 Pup Fired After Partner Filed Sexual Harassment Complaint: Follows


NEW YORK CITY – The city’s Corrections Department is accused of discriminating against a German Shepherd and the woman whose lifelong purpose was to be his partner, court records show.

Rikers Island Correctional Officer Donna Schnirring filed a complaint on Tuesday claiming that she and her canine partner Bullet were removed from DOC’s K-9 unit in retaliation for complaints she made about the matter. sexism in the department, according to Queens Supreme Court records.

“They are essentially excluding him for trivial, illegal reasons,” said his lawyer John Scola. “It’s a grudge, that’s the point.”

Corrections referred Patch’s request for comment to the Legal Department, which typically does not comment on cases until a summons was issued and did not respond.

Schnirring’s battle with the DOC began in 2012 when she became the only woman to join the department’s K-9 unit, according to the complaint.

She was a unit patrol trainer and New York State examiner for police dog handlers working with drug and explosives sniffer dogs, according to the complaint.

But the fantastic job turned sour when a married colleague repeatedly proposed to Schnirring, who ultimately decided to file a sexual harassment complaint in 2017, the lawsuit says.

Tensions mounted and a violent brawl broke out in a Rikers Island trailer between colleagues and colleague Schnirring accused of harassment, according to records from the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings.

Bullet and Schnirring – who were not involved in wrongdoing or named in the OATH report – were removed from the unit, according to the complaint.

In 2018, Schnirring sued the DOC and agreed to a settlement in 2019 with the understanding that she could return to the K-9 unit, according to the lawsuit.

The Emergency Services Canine Unit has hired more than 23 managers since the 2018 settlement, but Schnirring and Bullet have yet to secure positions on the team, the complaint says.

The emergency services canine unit is made up entirely of men, some of whom have never received formal transfers and all of whom were less experienced than Schnirring, according to the prosecution.

“Basically they keep putting men in there and not her,” Scola said. “Even though she has more licenses than they do.”

Meanwhile, a K-9 unit trainee dog named Bingo has died after being left unattended and eating a bar of soap left by a “reckless” employee, a source told the Daily News.

Schnirring applied with little success for several other positions and when she took the captain’s exam in 2020 she never even received a grade, the suit claims.

Despite a risky job that once saw her chasing and capturing an inmate who had just attacked an officer, Schnirring never received a response to her request for a bulletproof vest that would protect her from stabbing and cutting, according to the complaint.

Schnirring said she suffered a panic attack when a manager called her to an office in Rikers Island and told her she was not advancing in the department because “you look sloppy” , indicates the complaint.

“You wanna call the chef, go ahead, I don’t care,” the director reportedly said. “I do not care [Equal Employment Opportunity complaints] or then go and drop another one. “

Three days after filing a complaint about the encounter, and before her knee and ankle recovered from facing an inmate, Schnirring was reassigned to full active duty, Scola said.

Schnirring’s complaint comes months after she filed a notice of claim with the city’s comptroller’s office demanding $ 5 million in retaliation and discrimination, as the Daily News reported in March.

The Daily News also noted that Bullet – whose purchase and training would typically cost the city $ 20,000 – has spent the past four years living in Schnirring’s house and unable to do his job.

“All the training, all the work he put into him is wasted for what?” Schnirring would have said. “They’re just shattering someone’s dream.”

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