March 25 (UPI) -- Verizon has raised controversy by suspending an employee hailed as a hero for using a bucket truck to rescue a cat stranded atop a Philadelphia utility pole.
A video captured March 16 in the Port Richmond neighborhood shows Verizon employee Maurice German using his bucket truck to rescue the stranded cat from the very top of the pole.
A Verizon spokesman said German was suspended by the company for violating safety protocols.
"All of our field technicians go through extensive training that is focused on workplace safety. Our goal is to keep our employees and our customers out of harm's way," the spokesman told WPVI-TV.
"For safety reasons, our trucks and related equipment are not intended to be used in the area in which he was operating, specifically around electrical wires. While our actions may not be popular, he potentially put his life and those around him in jeopardy," he said.
The spokesman said Verizon has made a donation to the Pennsylvania SPCA to show its "support for animal rescue efforts."
Supports hailed German as a hero and have been raising money to compensate the worker for his lost wages during his suspension.