An employee at a Winston-Salem plumbing company lost his job after a video showing him kicking a dog inside a house went viral on Facebook on Wednesday.
A woman with the Facebook profile name Kelly Nicole posted a 34-second video clip showing two men coming into a living room on the way to the kitchen with a dog barking at their heels. The man in the front, wearing a white shirt, kicks the dog toward the couch, then continues into the kitchen. The dog pauses for a moment, then continues to follow the two men, barking.
The post had more than 1,800 shares and more than 550 comments Wednesday evening.
By 9 p.m., the video had been removed from Kelly Nicole’s Facebook page. She stated in an updated post she had spoken with the company, PF Plumbing.
“I would like to note the company did express a heartfelt sincere apology and made sure our dog was OK.” She added she would still recommend the company.
Kelly Nicole previously stated on her Facebook page, “see the video below of what this scumbag did to our completely harmless dog this morning,” as well as posting a screenshot of a truck of PF Plumbing.
Teresa Freer, corporate secretary and owner of PF Plumbing, confirmed the company was at the house Wednesday morning for new construction.
After the video was posted, Freer said the company’s phone had been ringing off the hook. She said the employee, who has worked at PF Plumbing for years and has pets of his own, has been terminated. She declined to identify the employee.
In a post on the company’s Facebook page, Freer said PF Plumbing apologizes for the actions of the employee, and hopes people don’t think they stand for the company as a whole.
The Winston-Salem Journal was unable to get in contact with the homeowners Wednesday.
According to Freer, the company employees were surprised by what was inside. PF Plumbing didn’t know anyone had moved into the house yet, and got the key to the house from a lockbox. The plumbing company’s customer was the builder of the new house, who told them no one would be home, Freer said.
PF Plumbing has no set policy about allowing employees into a house if pets are left out unsecured and no one’s home, Freer said.
“Most of the time the homeowner’s home,” she said.
Kelly Nicole, the woman who posted the video, stated on her Facebook page that one dog stays in a crate and does not. She said she was unaware anyone was coming to the house Wednesday.
“Had we known they were coming, we would have put the dog away before hand or came home and done so,” she stated in her post.
Freer said she’s just stunned by the actions that occurred Wednesday morning at the house.
“We’ve been here 32 years and never had anything like this,” she said. “One person has devastated 85 employees and their families.”
Sherri Williams, an assistant professor in race media and communications at American University in Washington, D.C. and a former member of the communications department at Wake Forest University, said people often seize on videos online because the images resonate with them.
“A lot of people love dogs and their pets,” she said. “To see a dog brutalized in a home by a hired guest is shocking to people and may have prompted people to share this. It may be a cautionary tale to others.”
Many people have hired help come to their house — babysitters, cleaning services, contractors, Williams said.
“We expect people to treat our home with respect, and if not, we feel violated,” she said, adding by posting the video, “the (homeowner) might have hoped for justice.”