Image: Eric Favetta and his dog, Gizmo
Mitsu Yasukawa / The Star-Ledger
Eric Favetta, a 31-year-old PetSmart employee, says he was fired for "theft of services" after bringing his dog to work during an overnight shift he'd picked up as a favor to his manager.
By
updated 1/22/2010 12:24:55 PM ET 2010-01-22T17:24:55

"We love to see healthy, happy pets" is PetSmart's motto — but apparently the policy doesn't apply to pets belonging to employees.

Eric Favetta, a 31-year-old PetSmart employee, was fired for "theft of services" after bringing his dog to work during an overnight shift he'd picked up as a favor to his manager, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. (The Secaucus, N.J., store added an overnight shift in order to prep the store for a visit by officials from Martha Stewart's company, who wanted to discuss selling products at PetSmart.)

Favetta — a former military dog handler who'd worked at PetSmart for 18 months — didn't want his 3-year-old Belgian Malinois, Gizmo, to be home alone all day and all night. So he put Gizmo in the store's doggie day care facility. The store was empty, and Favetta checked in on his pet every 15 minutes.

Two weeks later, store and district managers requested a written report of his overnight shift. He complied — and promptly was fired for "theft of service."

“I was shocked,” Favetta told the Star Ledger. “It makes me sick that because I brought my dog to work with me when the store was closed to do the company a favor, I was called a thief and terminated.” He argues it was just a convenient excuse to ax him because he didn't get along with his manager, noting that he opened the store and handled money without incident.

PetSmart spokeswoman Jessica White defended the company's decision, saying the doggie daycare service is a huge part of PetSmart's business. Access to the store's doggie daycare facility is "viewed as sale items the same way items on the shelf are," she told the paper. "To use the facilities and not pay for it — it falls under the same lines."

PetSmart eventually offered Favetta his job back and a transfer to another store. He accepted — but then he was offered a job at a company that uses animals to search for hazards. Favetta took it.

No word yet on whether that business will allow Favetta to bring Gizmo to work.

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