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German Shepherd Receives Unemployment Benefits

By Jeffrey Yano, Esq. on February 02, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Michigan German Shepherd is in the news after being approved for $360 a week in unemployment benefits. It's a story that inserts a cute, cuddly pet into the real-world problem of an apparent state benefits fraud scheme.

Bark If Your Name Is Michael Ryder

Michael Haddock, an attorney from Saugatuck, Michigan, was surprised to receive a letter from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency informing "Michael Ryder" of his unemployment benefits award.

According to the letter, Ryder, Haddock's German Shepherd, had filed for unemployment after working at a Detroit-area seafood restaurant -- across the state. Like a good lawyer, Haddock swiftly contacted the agency to resolve the mistaken benefits award.

"He's very food driven, so it's no coincidence that he had a restaurant on his application," Haddock told CBS and the AP.

Speak, Michigan!

While the details are funny, the hidden context kind of isn't. As Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency spokesperson Chris De Witt explained, this might very well be a case of benefits fraud gone wrong that ended up on Mr. Haddock's front lawn.

"Due to criminals stealing data from a number of different places -- Equifax, other places where this has happened over the last few years -- criminals are now using that information to file for unemployment benefits, and the IRS is running into the same problem with tax refunds. That's how this starts."

These Dogs Are Never Doggin' It

German Shepherds are "generally considered dogdom's finest all-purpose workers." Described as 'smart, confident, courageous, and steady,' the American Kennel Club notes that these "big guys were born to work."

So maybe it's a good thing Michigan is cracking down on their unemployment benefits?

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