(CNN) — A California carpenter says he’s out of a job after he freed a wild raccoon.
The animal had been causing trouble at the construction site where he worked. It was caged up — soon to be euthanized. Due to his efforts to free the animal, he got a pink slip — but he says he’d do it all over again.
“It’s calling was for me to let it go, and that’s what I did,” Todd Sutton said.
And for that, Sutton paid dearly for it.
“He didn’t do anything. Just trapped in our building, you know?” Sutton said.
Sutton’s company fired him — accusing him of theft. Not for taking the raccoon, but for supposedly stealing the cage itself from the job site.
“It was trapped in the cage. Poor little guy looked pathetic looking up at me like, ‘let me out of here,'” Sutton said.
Surrounded by skyscrapers, Sutton needed to find the nearest semblance of wilderness he could.
“I’m in the middle of the city. Where am I going to find a woodsy area, you know?” Sutton said.
But he did.
“When I got that cage open, he scooched out pretty quick. He was free. It felt good for me, and I know it felt good for him,” Sutton said.
Sutton has taken new work at a lower-level job and is investigating legal action against his former employer.
Sutton says if he had to, he’d do what he did all over again.
“To euthanize him for no apparent reason? I don’t think hunters would believe in that, you know, so I just did what I thought was right,” Sutton said.
Sutton’s lawyer is adamant this isn’t about the money. He calls Sutton freeing the raccoon a First Amendment issue.