Cristal Perez is admittedly not a huge dog lover, but when she saw a small dog that was left inside a car on an 84 degree day, she did what she thought she should’ve done: She confronted its owners.
Perez was working as a server at Longhorn Steakhouse in Millville, New Jersey, when she walked to the table where the dog’s owners had spent the past hour and told them that she thought it was “wrong” for them to leave him in their vehicle, the Press of Atlantic City reports. But instead of being commended for her compassion or kind-heartedness, she lost her job.
Perez told the New Jersey newspaper that after serving a four-day suspension, she was fired for failing to give the customers a good dining experience.
“The dog was never in any danger,” Longhorn spokesperson Hunter Robinson told the Press. “The police never came.”
Robinson said that the animal in question was a “special needs” dog and that the air conditioner was running while he was in the car.
Regardless, Perez said she heard other diners expressing their own concern about the dog, including two customers who called the city police about the situation. She also said that the dog was showing visible signs of distress.
“He was pretty active,” she told the paper. “He was panting pretty heavily.”
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has criticized Longhorn’s decision to fire Perez, saying that she should be considered a hero. Other customers — or just animal lovers — have expressed their own displeasure on Longhorn’s Facebook page.
“I used to love Longhorn, but not any more,” one disappointed customer wrote.