In a video that briefly went viral on Facebook Friday morning, a Louisville Metro Government garbage collection employee laughed as he dumped the contents of a trash can — including two opossums — into the back of a garbage truck.
“Watch out he going to splatter blood all on your face,” a male voice stated, referring to one of the opossums.
The video received roughly 1,800 views before the individual who posted it took it down, but that was not before a number of others called for the Solid Waste Management Services employee to be fired from his job and commented that his actions were “unacceptable” and “cruel.”
“We are repulsed by what you saw as much as anyone else who may have seen it,” said Harold Adams, spokesman for Louisville Metro Public Works, which oversees the Solid Waste Management Services division. “We are in the process of taking disciplinary action with that employee.”
Among the possible disciplinary action that could be taken is a suspension.
Several commenters on the video said the employee should have turned the marsupials loose, and some posted that opossums are tame creatures.
The man who posted the video identifies himself as a city truck driver on Facebook. He commented that at least one of the opossums jumped out of the back of the garbage truck at its next stop and that opossums usually make it alive to the landfill where they are dumped out with the trash collected. He also defended his actions saying that the job is “very dangerous.”
“After dealing with this problem all the time you tend to laugh at the dangers as you handle them,” he wrote.
Another Facebook user came to his defense as well, stating that Solid Waste Management Services employees deal with hazards every day, including human waste, drug addicts, loose dogs and disease-infested animals. The commenter, who also identified himself as a Metro employee, noted that residents are worried about their trash being picked up more than the safety of the workers.
In his comments to Insider, Adams backed up the comments about the potential hazards of dealing with wild animals.
“Due to the potential dangers of injury and disease, we ask them not to handle the animals,” he said, adding that typically, the animal or animals will scurry out the back of the truck once the garbage can’s contents are emptied or the animals will exit the truck at the landfill. “That is not to say all of the animals survive. Some of them don’t.”