NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio -- The Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals wants a police officer who allegedly shot five kittens to death in a family's back yard to lose his job.
Teresa Landon, executive director of the animal-rights group, said Officer Barry Accorti should be fired and charged with five counts of animal cruelty for allegedly using his gun to fatally wound the 8- to 10-week-old kittens after responding to a homeowner's call.
North Ridgeville police said Accorti, a retired sergeant with the department who now works part time as a humane officer, responded to a home Monday where a feral mother cat and her five kittens were living in a woodpile.
Accorti allegedly told the homeowner that local animal shelters were full and that the cats would be going to "kitty heaven." He then pulled out his gun and shot to death the five, 8- to 10-week-old kittens, just 15 feet away from the woman's children inside the home.
Accorti allegedly told the homeowner that he isn't supposed to shoot the animals, but that his actions were justified. The woman ran into the house to shield her children who were screaming and crying.
Under Ohio law, officers have the discretion to shoot and kill wild animals, but only if they are a nuisance or a threat to individuals.
In a statement, police officials said the department is concerned about wild animals, particularly about illnesses they could be carrying.
In a follow-up interview, the homeowner, who was not named, told police she was aware that the feral cats were going to be euthanized but did not expect it to occur on her property, Police Chief Mike Freeman wrote in a post on the department's Facebook page. "The complainant explained she felt overwhelmed due to the fact that her children were inside the residence and heard the gunshots," Freeman wrote.
City officials said they are exploring proper protocol for the incident.
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