CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Department of Labor claims Cook County owes its canine officers more than $500,000 worth of back pay.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, the Labor Department claims the officers are owed for mandatory time they spent caring for their assigned dogs while not on the job.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

A department investigation found canine officers working in the county’s Bomb Unit, Department of Corrections and Court Services were paid for a work 40-hour week but were only assigned 35 or 36 hours of work. The additional hour of pay each day was for time spent caring for their assigned dog.

The officers were also required to care for their assigned canine on their days off without any compensation, according to the suit.

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The department says the county violated the Illinois Minimum Wage Law between January 2007 and July of last year, by failing to pay the canine officers time-and-a-half for the hours they spent caring for their dogs on their days off.

The department is suing the county for the back pay and court costs.

The county sheriff’s office was not immediately available for a comment to the Sun-Times Media Wire.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)