Ohio PD settles lawsuit for $30K with former officer over K-9 dispute

The settlement also allowed former Bedford Heights Officer Ryan Kaetzel the opportunity to buy K-9 Bosco

By Adam Ferrise

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Bedford Heights officials agreed to pay a former police canine handler $30,000 to settle a lawsuit filed after the city took the officer’s dog.

The settlement also allowed former officer Ryan Kaetzel the opportunity to buy the dog, Bosco, for $4,000. Kaetzel will receive $20,000, while $10,000 will go to his attorney, Shannon Draher. The city announced last month that Bosco has been reunited with Kaetzel.

The ordeal that began in July touched off a controversy in the eastern suburb.

The lawsuit said Bedford Heights Police Chief Mike Marotta had told Kaetzel that the city was disbanding the K-9 unit and that he could have Bosco. Ohio law allows for a police-dog handler to buy their dogs for $1.

Later, Marotta reversed course and ordered Kaetzel to return Bosco, according to court records.

Kaetzel then filed the lawsuit over the department’s refusal to pay him for caring for Bosco while off-duty, including food and trips to the vet.

A GoFundMe account, set up by a friend of Kaetzel’s aimed at raising money so the officer could buy the dog, sparked more public outcry.

Once officials again told Kaetzel he had to return Bosco to the city, Kaetzel levied more accusations in an updated lawsuit, including accusing city and police officials of retaliating against him.

Kaetzel left Bedford Heights and now works for Strongsville police.

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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