BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A Bakersfield man said he was fired from his job because he insisted that stray cats in the area be cared for.
Saul Gutierrez said that since he began working at Valley Perforating seven years ago, he would place trays of cat food beneath his car in the parking lot.
“I pretty much made sure they weren’t starving because ever since I started working there they were skin and bone,” he told 23ABC.
In five instances, Gutierrez captured the stray animals and brought them to a veterinarian to be cared for, paying for all expenses out of pocket, he said.
According to Gutierrez, company President Mike Dover told him to stop caring for the cats. His insistence that the animals be taken care of, he said, led to his termination earlier this month.
A statement from Valley Perforating to 23ABC read, in part:
“To the extent Valley Perforating had any interest in Mr. Gutierrez’s care of stray animals, it only became an issue when those activities resulted in safety issues and property destruction due to excessive urination and cat feces on Valley Perforating property and the property (e.g. cars) of other employees. Mr. Gutierrez also threatened to interfere with Valley Perforating’s own attempts to catch stray animals and transport them to the City and County shelters.”
Dover and an attorney employed by the company said there were several instances of insubordination prior to Gutierrez being confronted about care for the stray cats. Dover also added Gutierrez was told by other supervisors at the company to stop feeding the animals because it created a health concern.
Gutierrez denies this and is now asking for his job back.