A female K-9 instructor filed a federal suit against the New York Department of Corrections saying she is being punished for filing a sexual harassment complaint against a male co-worker.
Donna Schnirring, who worked in the elite Emergency Services Unit, says she was removed from her post at Rikers, and separated from her canine partner after she filed her complaint.
Schnirring tells NBC4 New York that she was removed following an alleged fight that occurred in her team’s trailer on Rikers Island, but that she was not even present on the island when the physical altercation ensued.
Donna Schnirring filed a federal suit against the Department of Corrections over her removal from Rikers Island and being separated from her K-9 parnter Bullet (pictured together)
Schnirring says she believes she was removed from her post for filing a sexual harassment claim against a male co-worker
‘I was nowhere to be found on Rikers Island at the time,’ Schnirring said, adding that she was on an earlier tour that day.
She is the only female K-9 instructor in New York state, and says she was removed from her Rikers post, and given a desk job at Queens Central Booking, and was sepearated from the dog that she spent years training.
Bullet, the eight-year-old German Shepard still lives with her in her home on Long Island, he is still the property of the DOC.
‘We’re already trained. If we were in the facility working, we could retrieve more contraband and assist to make it safer. Why wouldn’t the Department want that? It’s a complete waste,’ she said.
She also says no one has given her a concrete reason as to why she was removed from Rikers.
Peter Thorne, a spokesman for the Correction Department told NBC4 in a statement, ‘The officer’s robust training does not restrict her to K-9 activities.’
Schnirring’s attorney, Daniela Nanau, meanwhile says it is New York City taxpayers that are getting robbed after all of Schnirring’s training currently going to waste.
Schnirring says that instead of being able to help find contraband at Rikers with Bullet she is now at a desk job at Queens Central Booking without him
‘We invested thousands of dollars in her training. Now, we’re not reaping the benefits of that training because she’s benched after complaining about sexual harassment.’
Schnirring filed her sexual harassment case with the DOC in January 2017.
The case was found to be unsubstantiated.
She says the long days away from Bullet are taking their toll.
‘He’s like my child. I don’t have a child. It’s heartbreaking. It’s very hard to get through the day,’ she said.