A carpenter has been fired for freeing a raccoon that had been trapped by exterminators at the San Francisco construction site where he worked.

Todd Sutton tells the San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/1x8xudK ) that he came to work one morning in late February and saw the animal inside a trap.

The builders had hired professional trappers to have the critter — which was blamed for damage at the $610 million project — removed and euthanized.

But the 49-year-old carpenter says he put the animal in his truck and released it in a nearby grassy area, after getting guidance from animal control officers.

His employer told the newspaper the move amounted to theft, because Sutton took something from the site that didn't belong to him.

Sutton has hired an attorney.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com