Bus driver rescues dogs, but loses her job - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bus driver rescues dogs, but loses her job

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BRADLEY COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -

A former Cleveland Urban Area Transit bus driver says she wants her job back.

Elizabeth Freeman was fired after picking up two stray dogs at a Wal-Mart along her route in Cleveland last month. She made the rescue with passengers on board. Thursday, Freeman showed up to her former workplace with two of her supporters by her side, and a petition signed by over 1,000 folks who want to see her back behind the wheel.

"I just would like to have my job back, and the fellowship with friends and stuff like that," said Freeman.

In February, Freeman was driving a city bus, when she noticed two dogs at her stop. With snow in the forecast, she says she didn't want to see the animals suffer.

"My heart could not leave them there, I couldn't leave them there, I've always been a rescuer," said Freeman.

But Chris Kleehammer says Freeman broke company policy by allowing the dogs on board with passengers and leaving her route.

"Our policy is that no animals are allowed on board, except for service animals, we could have had people waiting at the bus stop, that never got served," said Chris Kleehammer, Assistant Executive Director, SETHRA.

According to Kleehammer, this isn't the first time Freeman has broken the rules and been reprimanded.

"We've had a disciplinary issue before where she had the animals on her bus, and on our company property," said Kleehammer.

Freeman admits to breaking the rules before, but she believes this latest offense was the humane thing to do.

"I may not do it the exact same way again, but I will at least contact some people to try to get someone to come and help,” said Freeman.

The group, Cleveland for a No Kill City, has joined the effort to get Freeman's job back.

SETHRA will make a decision in the next week if that will happen. As for the dogs, they were both adopted from the shelter.

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