North Ridgeville Humane Officer Under Fire For Kitten Killings

Barry Accorti returned to work today as a humane (sic) officer in the city of North Ridgeville. He's been the focus of scrutiny and calls for his termination since Monday, when he reportedly shot five kittens in someone's backyard.

The gist of the story involves Accorti, a retired sergeant and current part-time humane (sic) officer, responding to a home where a feral cat and her five kittens had set up shop in a woodpile. As the homeowner tells it, Accorti said that the animal shelters were full and that the felines would be going "to kitty heaven." He then shot the five kittens, all placed somewhere between 8 and 10 weeks old.

Since the incident, local and statewide pushback against the officer and the department has been intense.

Outcry was so fervent that the North Ridgeville Police Department took down its Facebook page Monday night. But the calls for action continue. Ohio SPCA Executive Director Teresa Landon said that Accorti should be fired and charged with five counts of animal cruelty.

North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman said that there won't be any punishment in Accorti's future: "I have decided his actions were appropriate and have decided not to impose any disciplinary measures for the incident. We will talk with the humane officers about improving their communications with the public."

Freeman and the department have also stuck with the "euthanization" terminology since the kittens' deaths.

Via the Ohio SPCA: "The use of gunshot to end an animal's life should only be used when an animal is attacking or has been injured so seriously that ending suffering must be immediate. The 8 to 10 week-old kittens posed no immediate threat to anyone. Trap, Neuter, and Release Programs (TNR) have been in place in a multitude of cities and towns throughout Ohio and the United States for years."

Upon conducting a follow-up interview with the [homeowner] she stated she was aware that the feral cats were going to be euthanized but did not expect it to occur on her property. The [homeowner] explained she felt overwhelmed due to the fact that her children were inside the residence and heard the gunshots," Freeman added via Facebook. His comments have since garnered more than 1,000 responses from the community (many of which were deleted by the page's administrators).

It's yet another testament to Ohio's atrocious animal cruelty laws.