San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre has decided to withhold a $50,000 settlement award to police officer Paul Hubka, whose canine partner died of heatstroke after being left in the officer’s closed car for as long as seven hours.

Hubka and two other police officers filed a lawsuit in 2005, arguing that the extra pay they receive for working with police dogs should be calculated into their retirement benefits. After they won the case, the City Council then voted to pay $233,100 to the officers’ attorney Michael Conger. Hubka and other officers will receive higher pensions each year after retirement — a total of $50,000 for Hubka.

“Conger can have his blood money, but for the life of me I cannot justify payment of $50,000 to a police officer for care of an animal that he allowed to die under his protection,” Aguirre said in a press release.

Aguirre did not cite a legal precedent for his decision to block the payments. Executive Assistant City Attorney Don McGrath said that “moral reason says we’re not going to pay somebody who did what he did to that dog.”


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