An image of a dog sitting on the flatbed of a tow truck driving on a Massachusetts highway has caused an uproar and apparently led to the firing of the driver.
The photo was taken Wednesday by Michael Gerry, who was driving down Route 128, and posted to Facebook. It appears to show a tethered dog sitting at the edge of the flatbed while the truck travels on the highway.
"I happened to look over again and it looked like a stuffed animal on the back. I'm like, 'That's weird.' And as I really got a good look, it wasn't a stuffed animal. It was a live animal. It was a dog," he said.
The photo of the dog was shared over 400 times as of Thursday morning. Hundreds of people also contacted the towing company to complain.
Jason Ramsey, the owner of the towing company whose truck was involved in the incident, called the driver's actions "completely unacceptable" and said the company was "still wrapping their heads around this."
The company said in a Facebook post the driver was “immediately” terminated.
Ramsay said the dog belonged to the driver, who he said had not been working at the company for a long time. He says he will be meeting with other drivers in the next day or so to review what happened. The company is also now looking to make a $1,000 donation to the MSPCA.
Massachusetts State Police as well as law enforcement from the Animal Rescue League of Boston are investigating the matter.
"The dual investigations aim to determine who was responsible for the dog being carried on the open flatbed, the owner and condition of the animal, and whether law enforcement action is warranted against anyone responsible," read a statement from Massachusetts State Police spokesperson Dave Procopio.
Lieutenant Alan Borgal of the Animal Rescue League says they are also trying to determine how many times the driver did this— at this point, they know it happened at least twice.
It is illegal to transport an animal in a "space intended for a load" if the space is not properly enclosed.