North Ridgeville Kitten Killer: Update

By Elisa Black-Taylor

This is an update on the North Ridgeville humane officer who is accused of killing five 8-10 week old kittens on June 10, 2013. This article chronicles events beginning on the day the kittens were killed and ending with the Ohio SPCA threatening a lawsuit against North Ridgeville if five conditions aren’t met.

I apologize for the long read, but this is a very complicated case. The developments are interesting. There is outrage from decent people.

HUMANE OFFICER KILLS 5 KITTENS

Five kittens were shot to death by part time North Ridgeville Humane Officer Barry Accorti after being called to a home where a feral mother cat and her kittens had taken up residence in a woodpile by the residence. The resident of the house felt the kittens were bringing fleas into the home, and was also concerned about dead prey being left outside near where her children played.

The woman who placed the call was under the impression Accorti would capture the kittens and take them to the local shelter where they would either be euthanized or adopted out. To her horror, Accorti shot and killed the kittens after telling her they would “go to heaven.” The woman has stated to several news media that one of her children watched the incident from a window overlooking the woodpile. Luckily the mother cat escaped injury.

NO DISCIPLINE WILL BE TAKEN

On Tuesday, June 11, North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman made an announcement to the press that no disciplinary action would be taken against Officer Barry Accorti. Freeman stated that since the kittens were killed because of “public health” reasons, Accorti was within the law to kill the kittens.

Freeman downplayed the fact that young children were present at the time of the shooting. The truth of the incident was an officer broke several Ohio Codes when he came onto private property and inhumanely euthanized a litter of kittens in a residential neighborhood in the presence of young children.

Officer Barry Accorti was allowed to remain on the job and continues to work for the city of North Ridgeville, despite community outrage.

NORTH RIDGEVILLE OFFICIALS SPEAK AT PACKED TOWN MEETING

People protesting against cat cruelty

Photo by Bruce Geiselman. Sun News

A town meeting was held on June 17, when city officials spoke before a packed house. Dozens of residents, as well as animal rights activists who traveled from as far as Washington, D.C. had the chance to address their concerns to Mayor David Gillock and other council members. Gillock expressed outrage at the threats being made against Accorti, as well as other members of the town.

The Ohio SPCA is at the forefront in an effort to see justice served for the five murdered kittens. Teresa Landon, President of the Ohio SPCA (OSPCA) demanded Accorti be removed from his job immediately. Landon presented Mayor Gillock a petition with 37,000 signatures from those outraged by the killings.

Landon threatened North Ridgeville with a lawsuit against the city if action wasn’t taken immediately. North Ridgeville officials considered the case closed at this point.

LAWYER FOR OHIO SPCA OUTLINES DEMANDS

Attorney John Bell has written a letter to Mayor Gillock, North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman and the law department. News of this spread like wildfire on June 20, as the Ohio SPCA stated in the letter that they were “ready, willing and able” to move forward with a lawsuit if five conditions aren’t met by June 28. Those conditions are:

Those conditions are:

  • Stop shooting cats and firing guns on private property
  • Adopt policies that prohibit shooting animals except when absolutely necessary to protect life
  • Immediately suspend Accorti without pay or benefits, pending any required hearing on his termination
  • Charge Accorti criminally with animal cruelty
  • Provide documentation of completion of the first four demands to the Ohio SPCA

The letter also provided the Ohio Codes that Humane Officer Barry Accorti allegedly violated by killing the five kittens and therefore should be charged with. They are:

  • 959.131(b) Torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against the companion animal;
  • 959.02 No person shall maliciously, or willfully, and without the consent of the owner, kill or injure a horse, mare, foal, filly, jack, mule, sheep, goat, cow, steer, bull, heifer, ass, ox, swine, dog, cat, or other domestic animal that is the property of another. This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian acting in an official capacity.
  • 2923.162 (2) Subject to division (B)(2) of this section, discharge a firearm on a lawn, park, pleasure ground, orchard, or other ground appurtenant to a schoolhouse, church, or inhabited dwelling, the property of another, or a charitable institution

The letter written by Attorney John Bell can be viewed on this page by scrolling down after the article written by another reporter about OSPCA giving the city warning.

Landon summed up the thoughts of all those who are disgusted with this case by saying in the letter:

“We are a nation of animal lovers and the needless killing of cats will not be tolerated.”

While the OSPCA would like to have handled the matter through education and support for trained individuals, they now say nothing less that meeting the five conditions listed above will be accepted. They want Accorti fired, and they want him charged with all of the laws he’s broken.

Gillock referred questions about the Ohio SPCA’s recent letter to city Law Director Andrew Crites.

“The law director is looking at it, he’ll respond to it.”

SUMMARY

I would like to add that a concerned parent contacted Lorain County Children Services and received a reply stating:

“With respect to this matter, the parameters and criteria of ‘child abuse, neglect and dependency’ are not met which gives us no authority to “‘investigate'”.

So apparently firing a gun in close proximity to a child, who also witnessed the murder of five kittens isn’t considered as any type of child abuse or child endangerment. This is good information to know for future reference.

The Ohio SPCA also claims to have possession of incriminating evidence showing how Accorti has abused his role in the past as an officer. They will use this evidence, should it become necessary.

As of yet, nothing has been decided and Accorti remains on duty. Mayor Gillock admits there need to be changes to the current method of handling feral cats and are open to suggestions.

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Comments

North Ridgeville Kitten Killer: Update — 37 Comments

  1. Well, I read the whole lot, top to bottom, word for word and I too am outraged but also inspired by the protestors. There are lots of very good people and animal lovers in the USA. Everyone should love animals, I say.

    To me (a cynical person) this is a typical case of people in authority protecting their own and avoiding the law.

    There are numerous examples of it in the modern world: bankers, police, politicians etc.

    The average person is tired of it and we demand change which is why we are seeing protests in places like Brazil and Turkey etc., and I predict you will see more in the USA and the UK.

    The people of the UK are tired of the same abuses of authority.

    • This has iinfuriated the dog lovers as well since so many dogs have been killed by police in the past few years. The parents of young children are also enranged on this one. Yesterday I covered a case where police shot and killed a dog within feet of a childrens swimming pool party. That one was caught on video.

      I soon see families having video camera mounted looking out over their property not to film intruders, but police.

  2. I believe that should be Americas next step to protect themselves–put video cameras up to protect their rights. as we know it probably will NOT do any good, it did not help Rodney King, they found those cops not guilty. cops are never guilty, they carry a badge, it is like a get out of trouble free card. once they get it they do no wrong, no matter how much wrong they do.

    • I hate the fact that cops are above the law. I really, really want to see a cop (American or British, I don’t care) behind bars with no bloody pension.

      People are sick of it. It is time for change. I always felt too that although there are many animal friendly cops, in general, they are male and not sensitive enough towards animals. Hence the tendency to shoot dogs and in this case kittens.

      For me this person is an arch bastard.

      • The cops are not above the Law. It’s a Little fact the police seems to forget from there training, was it at West Point?

      • I am also concerned and disgusted by the act of this individual. Many of these same acts of cruelty against animals is met with fines and punishment up to and including arrest an incarceration. I am left wondering where the justice for our animals has gone unchecked with this incident. IT IS A CRIME COMMITTED BY THOSE WHO ARE IN POSITION TO UPHOLD HUMANE TREATMENT..I strongly feel that this individual should be brought to justice. WE HAVE LAWS AGAINST SUCH TREATMENT AGAINST THE DEFENSELESS… Lest I remind: it is written that we as humans inherited the burden of protecting and enjoying the GOD GIVEN ANIMALS OF OUR EARTH. So Sayeth OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN- YOURS TRULY GOD….

    • Karen I agree with you and Michael. I do think video cameras is a good idea. Me and my landlord once got treated very badly by the corrupted city of Toronto people and if we had a video or recording of what they did or said it might well have been game over for them. I now have a recording device on my phone which is easily activated and I can make it record phone calls too. I haven’t needed it yet though which is nice.

      I admire tha OSPCA and the people of North Ridgeville. A very good point was made – in truth the people of the US are for the mostpart animal lovers and the ruling institutions and departments clearly are out of touch with this simple fact. It’s impressive to see the reaction and demands and I hope they don’t stop until the officer and his superior are so incredibly sorry they tried to just brush it off to protect their own. You can’t have trust in a system if it doesn’t do it’s job right and when it does wrong with impunity.

      I also get the feeling this off/on duty Accorti guy is a piece of sh*t who thinks he is some kind of cowboy. Shooting tiny little creatures saying they will go to god is not only imposing your belief system on other people to defend a cruel act but it also reflects a person who should not have a gun. People should not feel safe with a guy like that around. It’s so wrong in so many ways what he did. We know guys like this work in law enforcement and other animal agencies but what adds insult to injury and makes the whole thing 100 times worse is the boss trying to brush it off. Scandal.

      • Not in a million years could I dream about thinking about shooting kittens, feral or otherwise. Physically, it would be impossible to for me to do it especially at point blank range. This person is definitely a complete sh*t of the highest order to be able to do that and then cynically declare they had gone to heaven or something. Sick.

        I am just bloody pleased the people have protested. Good on them. The people need to shout about these things. It is a sad sorry that once again undermines my confidence in humanity because as I write he has got away with it and he is likely to in the long run because the establishment always wins.

        • It is written: If you have man that will deny any creature of compassion and care – then likewise you will have man equally treat man in same cruel manner.. This incident should be addressed immediately through prosecution of the very LAWS that are now in practice.. All that are involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent.. Imagine a WORLD WITHOUT OUR ANIMAL COMPANIONS… And without CATS – DOMESTIC or WILD the rodents would surely inherit OUR WORLD… In my opinion: MANKIND THEMSELVES need to Remember the BLACK PLAGUE of EUROPE..For it is the CAT that SAVED THE HUMAN RACE..without them our very existence would remain a QUESTION…

  3. I’m so glad this crime is being taken seriously now and hope it’s a lesson learned by all the gun happy police who kill animals and think they can get away with it.
    Americans have gone up in my estimation because of those people not sitting back but are instead fighting for animal rights.
    All police aren’t bad, we are lucky to have good ones in our town, most of who have pets of their own and care about animals and help enforce our pet welfare act.

    • Well said Ruth. There are some great policeman. I can agree that despite having a personal problem with them 🙂 I don’t like them from first hand dealings. However, I hope (but don’t see it happening) that the good people who are protesting get the result they are demanding, and if the litigation happens, that it is successful. This person must be held accountable for his crime.

  4. Those who have heard of this case and are outraged over the way people are trying to hijack everyone’s homes and lands with cats — in support of Accorti there’s a new movement happening across the land. They are all shooting at least one stray cat per day to put an end to this nonsense and show their support for Accorti. Not quite the results everyone had intended but that’s what everyone is getting. Think twice about what you are trying to force others to do. It may just backfire in your faces, like this one most certainly has. The interesting aspect in all of this is that once a person shoots one cat it just becomes easier and easier to shoot many more of them. It’s not going to stop now.

      • 959.131(b) Torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against the companion animal;

        Feral cats are not companion animals.

        959.02 No person shall maliciously, or willfully, and without the consent of the owner, kill or injure a horse, mare, foal, filly, jack, mule, sheep, goat, cow, steer, bull, heifer, ass, ox, swine, dog, cat, or other domestic animal that is the property of another. This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian acting in an official capacity.

        He had full consent of the owner. In fact she requested that he come there to destroy the cats for her because she couldn’t do it. The only thing she’s upset about is that he did it right there instead of out-of-sight so she wouldn’t feel so bad about the decision that _she_ made. She should have destroyed the cats herself, but its too late now.

        2923.162 (2) Subject to division (B)(2) of this section, discharge a firearm on a lawn, park, pleasure ground, orchard, or other ground appurtenant to a schoolhouse, church, or inhabited dwelling, the property of another, or a charitable institution

        Quoted out of context. Every person in the USA has the right to discharge a firearm to protect themselves from any threat–animal or human. She clearly reported that those cats were a threat to her and her children. It’s a shame that people in the UK have grown up so frightened of guns, but that’s your problem.

        Sorry … manipulative lawyers and website owners aren’t going to get around this one.

        • He had consent of the owner to take them in for humane euthanasia. Only those licensed by the state are authorized and lethal injection is the only legal method for Ohio.

          Gun owners are allowed to fire a weapon on their own property. Accorti wasn’t on his own property.

          • Death by firearm is also humane euthanasia. Otherwise they’d have to make all hunting illegal for it being cruelty to animals. No farmer nor rancher could feed their families either. It is neither illegal nor is it inhumane to use a firearm to kill an animal. If you want to ban firearms for hunting or killing animals for food then I guess everyone will have to go back to clubbing animals to death, even the ones that are used to make your cans and bags of cat-food for you. Would that be better for you? Do you think the animals that are killed to make your cat-food for you are put to sleep first in a vets office?

            Think.

            Really? You’re really this out of touch with reality?

            He wasn’t on his own property, but he was a legal representative of animal-control — a legal function of that community. He was invited there to “euthanize” her cats for her. So he did.

            I guess the only way that you can handle any animal dying is if you don’t know it happens.

            I suggest you stop buying cat-food now that you know animals are killed to make it for you. You are requesting others to kill animals for you every time you buy a can or bag of cat-food so you can feed your cats. Is that also illegal in your country? Should we prosecute you and and everyone who makes your cat-food for you? If so … there goes your ability to keep cats for pets.

            • Death by firearm is also humane euthanasia. Otherwise they’d have to make all hunting illegal for it being cruelty to animals

              Wrong again. The cruelty laws in America are so worded that they don’t apply to sport hunting. Of course it is cruel to shoot wild animals. You don’t think every animal shot dies instantly do you? In which there are mountains of pain and suffering caused to wild animals and all because you like doing it.

              It is neither illegal nor is it inhumane to use a firearm to kill an animal

              Complete and utter rubbish. You are a nasty idiot.

        • Point one: you are quoting Ohio laws. I presume you live in that state and that you are Woody or part of his gang.

          Second point: you shoot, injury, maim and kill all roaming cats and you have no idea if they are domestic, stray or feral. You don’t give a damn. There is no way you can tell the difference between a stray and feral cat at a distance. Even close up it is difficult or impossible. Stray cats are domestic cats. In which case, on countless occasions, you have committed a crime. But the police don’t give a damn either because they do the same thing.

          Third point: the animal protection laws of America are lax and underdeveloped because millions of Americans love to have guns and shoot things, anything. This does not make shooting cats any the less cruel and nasty.

          You need to broaden your mind. Visit England or Germany. Travel a bit and see if it changes your entrenched, indoctrinated and uncivilised attitudes.

          • Hear hear Michael! Well said so now we have dangerous individuals not only going around shooting cats in public but also thinking that by doing it they are supporting this guy! Therefore cats suffer again because certain people are in support of him. Seems to me Dave that people like you will use any excuse to fire a gun in fact you often don’t need an excuse but if you do feel the need to justify you actions in comes under the guise of culling. How very pathetic 🙁

    • The interesting aspect in all of this is that once a person shoots one cat it just becomes easier and easier to shoot many more of them. It’s not going to stop now.

      Yes, I have heard this said by rapist and the like. Once you cross the wire so to speak it gets easier. As far as I am concerned you are a nasty person and I would certainly find it very easy to do something to you that hurt.

      Show me some evidence of this mysterious “new movement”. I presume you support police breaking the law as Elisa says.

        • Oh what sweet revenge this is on cat hating trolls like Dave Brandon coming here wasting time spouting rubbish none of us give any credence too and best of all by every comment he makes and our replies he is donating to cat charities.
          Micheal such a very great idea PoC donates for every comment made,the best ever,the trolls just can’t win
          lol
          Come on trolls give some more

          • The monthly donations to cat charities from comments written is the neatest idea I’ve ever seen. Didn’t realise it had come into play, until today. Well done, Michael!

  5. I don’t believe the Ohio spca would have sent a letter without researching whether or not the officer broke the law. They, as well as attorney Bell know the law much better than I do.

    Deer aren’t companion animals. My dad hunted deer a lot when I was a child.

    As for cat food, mine are fed grain free with chicken or fish as a first ingredient. No animal by products so my cats do not eat rendered animals.

    I just read the petition to fire Accorti is now at 147000. If the people of North Ridgeville want an officer who will murder kittens and fire his weapon in front of a small child then thats their business. The town council meeting shows otherwise.

    I’m curious Dave. Would it have been ok if the officer had shot a litter of flea carrying puppies?

  6. I am so sick and tired of police thinking they are above the law and shooting our beloved pets and getting away with it. Although these were not pets, they were being fed by this person and just babies.
    The kids that witnessed it will be forever scarred. We can’t even call the police without fearing what they will do to our pets.
    THIS MUST BE STOPPED!!!

  7. No one should shoot and kill any cats, kittens, no one should, the officer who kill and murder the kittens should not have a job anymore, save the cats,kittens, don’t kill them, find homes for them all. l don’t believe that no one should kill a cat/kitten, find homes for all the cats/kittens, next time you all march l want to march with you all, just let me know,.

    • Absolutely agree with you. Thanks for voicing your concern Jeanette. There are people who think in a completely opposite way to us. They want to shoot and kill kittens and cats and don’t see anything wrong with it.

  8. 959.06 Destruction of domestic animals.
    (A) No person shall destroy any domestic animal by the use of a high altitude decompression chamber or by any method other than a method that immediately and painlessly renders the domestic animal initially unconscious and subsequently dead.

    4729.532 Performing euthanasia by means of lethal injection on animal.
    (A) No agent or employee of an animal shelter shall perform euthanasia by means of lethal injection on an animal by use of any substance other than combination drugs that contain pentobarbital and at least one noncontrolled substance active ingredient, in a manufactured dosage form, whose only indication is for euthanizing animals, or other substance that the state veterinary medical licensing board and the state board of pharmacy both approve by rule adopted in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code. The agent or employee of an animal shelter when using a lethal solution to perform euthanasia on an animal shall use such solution in accordance with the following methods and in the following order of preference:
    (1) Intravenous injection by hypodermic needle;
    (2) Intraperitoneal injection by hypodermic needle;
    (3) Intracardial injection by hypodermic needle, but only on a sedated or unconscious animal;
    (4) Solution or powder added to food.
    (B) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, no agent or employee of an animal shelter, other than a registered veterinary technician as defined in section 4741.01 of the Revised Code, shall perform euthanasia by means of lethal injection on an animal unless he has received certification after successfully completing a euthanasia technician certification course as described in this division. The curriculum for a euthanasia technician certification course shall be one that has been approved by the state veterinary medical licensing board, shall be at least sixteen hours in length, and shall include information in at least all of the following areas:
    (1) The pharmacology, proper administration, and storage of euthanasia solutions;
    (2) Federal and state laws regulating the storage and accountability of euthanasia solutions;
    (3) Euthanasia technician stress management;
    (4) Proper disposal of euthanized animals.
    (C)
    (1) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, no agent or employee of an animal shelter shall perform euthanasia by means of lethal injection on animals under this section unless the facility in which he works or is employed is licensed with the state board of pharmacy under section 4729.531 of the Revised Code.
    (2) Any agent or employee of an animal shelter performing euthanasia by means of lethal injection shall do so only in a humane and proficient manner that is in conformity with the methods described in division (A) of this section and not in violation of Chapter 959. of the Revised Code.

    No matter what the homeowner told him to do, Accorti told her what he was doing wasn’t allowed. He’s never denied telling her that. And according to Ohio Codes, the police department isn’t licensed by the state to perform euthanasia. Even euthanasia at a shelter is only allowed on a sedated animal.

    It is legal to hunt deer, turkey, boar etc. It is NOT legal in Ohio to hunt cats. This cat may not have been feral since it camped so close to the house. It was closer to being a stray than a feral, and therefore a companion animal.

    • This cat may not have been feral

      This is a point I made, Elisa. How do you distinguish between stray or roaming cat and a feral cat that is part of a TNR colony? Some feral cats are quite tame and approachable and in good condition. These cat shooters cannot distinguish between types of cat yet still shoot, maim, injure and kill saying it is legal. Baloney.

    • This section pertains ONLY to using lethal injection methods. Now go copy and paste the one that pertains to humane euthanasia with a firearm.

      • Ok lets say he did need to euthanise the kittens but we are talking tiny babies; what sort of man would discharge a firearm to euthanise a tiny creature? And in front of children as well!! If it was a runaway Bull I could kind of understand it because people could be hurt even killed but come on!! He (and you) needs to grow some balls! Are gun to shoot a kitten??!!! How is that kitten going to hurt anyone? Its just like ‘hey look at me! I’m a big man with a gun and I’m going to shoot these kittens because they are a danger to life! I’m gonna show you how powerful and clever I am!’

        The only dangerous thing around here is this ‘humane’ officer (ha! humane! thats a joke!!) oh and you!! Yeh you’re dangerous as well and pathetic for shooting cats! for Gods sake grow up!!

  9. Go back to the comment with Ohio Code 959.02. It doesn’t matter whether it was feral or stray. The law says CAT. Period. Personally I’d think it a stray since the woodpile was only a few feet from their back entrance. A feral most likely wouldn’t stay that close.

    • The trouble with that clause Elisa is that the cat has to be owned:

      the property of another

      Feral cats aren’t owned but the point I made about strays and semi-ferals must be relevant to this discussion.

  10. This is still a very ridiculous case where the police are hiding behind their “authority.” I still don’t get how the officer could fire a gun on private property on kittens when he is not being threatened in any way. Gee, a kitten attack was possible, mr. police officer? Oooh, I’m so scared. This guy is not a man, he’s just a grown up who decided to take matters into his own hands. I hope they fire him.

    • Absolutely!!! Even if he was within the law how can you have any respect for a grown man that shoots a kitten? Its far far worse that he’s supposed to uphold the law! Its just so absurd! What the hell is he trying to prove?

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