A carpenter working on the SFMOMA expansion project was recently let go from his job after he decided to rescue a raccoon trapped at the construction site.
Todd Sutton showed up for work at the site in SoMa on February 27 when he discovered the raccoon inside a trap set by the builders. Sutton knew the animal was set to be euthanized, so he sprung into action and did what he thought was the right thing. "He was just a little baby. I said, 'I'm not going to let this happen. I'm going to do what is necessary for this raccoon,'" he told the Chronicle. He picked up the cage and put it in his pickup truck. He even covered it with a blanket "because you know, he's a nocturnal animal."
Later that day, his supervisors his supervisors accused him of packing the critter away. "When they accused me, I didn't deny it. I didn't think I'd really get in trouble," he said. Sutton was fired.
He later found out that laws required him to release the animal in a nearby location, so he released the raccoon in a grassy area on the Embarcadero, underneath the "Cupid's Span" sculpture (you know, the big bow and arrow).
Sutton hired an employment attorney (who thinks he's a "hero" for what he did), but even the attorney isn't sure the firing violated any laws. "We were concerned he had taken something that didn't belong to him and left the job site," said Matt Rossie of Webcor, who is the contractor on the SFMOMA project.
Raccoons, like other wild animals, can cause property damage and can be legally trapped and euthanized.
Sutton got a new job—one that pays less—but says he has no regrets. "I'd do the same thing again."