Upon arrival, Accorti had stated that shelters were full and that the cats would be going to kitty heaven. He then retrieved his gun from his truck and walked to the back of the home where he slaughtered the kittens while the horrified homeowner ran into the house to shield her young children from witnessing the violence.
A law enforcement officer who resorts to shooting kittens or any non-threatening animal is not only lacking in compassion and moral judgment, but violating Ohio law! According to Teresa Landon, Executive Director for the Ohio SPCA, “Accorti’s actions were inhumane and illegal. All citizens of North Ridgeville should be deeply troubled by the fact that Accorti discharged his gun at least five times in a housing development in close proximity to a residence (just feet away), which endangered and traumatized this family and surrounding neighbors.”
North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman has stated that no disciplinary action will be taken against Accorti. According to the press release from the North Ridgeville Police Department, "Research and other animal organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia."
Landon does not agree, “No HUMANE organization would recommend that non-threatening animals be shot as a method of euthanasia. The use of gunshot to end an animal's life should only be used as an absolute last resort in true emergency situations when an animal is attacking or has been seriously injured and cannot be saved.”
According to John Bell, attorney for the Ohio SPCA, “Shooting a cat is never legal. It is not painless and therefore violates the "immediate and painless" rule contained in the Ohio Revised Code. It is also expressly illegal to “needlessly kill” any ‘companion animal,’ which includes all cats and dogs. The Chief’s statement is ludicrous! No credible authority would ever argue that shooting is an acceptable method of euthanasia.” Bell added that the Ohio SPCA has successfully sued in other Ohio counties to stop the use of gunshot to kill animals.
In addition to disciplinary action, the Ohio SPCA has requested that proactive measures be taken by county officials to ensure that such inhumane and inappropriate actions by North Ridgeville officers do not happen again. Some measure of palliative care should also be provided to the family that had to witness this horror.
There are humane “Trap, Neuter, and Release” programs” (TNR) in place in a multitude of cities and towns throughout Ohio and the United States. If North Ridgeville has a problem with a feral cat population, an appropriate and humane TNR program is the answer, not the cruel use of deadly weapons in residential areas. Residents should educate themselves and their local government officials to take humane proactive steps to reduce the feral cat population.
Due to additional complaints and statements received from North Ridgeville residents, the Ohio SPCA has launched a full-scale investigation of previous actions taken by Officer Barry Accorti and the other part-time officer, Brian Gorski. These actions not only indicate inhumane treatment of animals, but also involve life-threatening circumstances to local residents and animals. Landon states, “Two attempts to speak with Mayor Gillock have failed. If the North Ridgeville Police Chief and Mayor Gillock do not take the obvious necessary action in response to these incidents, a lawsuit by the Ohio SPCA will be the only remedy.”