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
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

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.

37 thoughts on “North Ridgeville Kitten Killer: Update”

  1. 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.

    Reply
    • 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?

      Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  3. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

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

      Reply
      • 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!!

        Reply
  4. 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,.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo