December 18, 2014

Elyria
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Police chief: No discipline for kitten-killing cop

NORTH RIDGEVILLE – Despite calls for the firing of Humane Officer Barry Accorti, who shot and killed five feral kittens in the backyard of a Vista Lake Way home Monday, the city’s police chief has decided his actions do not warrant discipline.

In a written account of the incident signed by Police Chief Michael Freeman that was released to news media Tuesday afternoon, Freeman said “at no time does this agency condone or allow the indiscriminate killing of animals” while noting police believed the incident proposed the health and safety risks posed by the feral animals.

After visiting the home, talking with Accorti and re-interviewing the complainant, Freeman said “I have decided his actions were appropriate and have decided not to impose any disciplinary measures.”

Freeman added the department will speak with its humane officers “about improving their communications with the public.”

This latter step comes in response to comments by the homeowner who told police she was aware a decision had been made by Accorti to euthanize the feral cats, but she did not believe that action was going to take place on her property.

The head of the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has called for Accorti to be fired and prosecuted for his shooting of the kittens.

“Our stance is that Officer Accorti should be charged with five counts of animal cruelty and dismissed,” Teresa Landon, executive director of the Ohio SPCA said today. “This man needs to lose his job.”

Accorti was a long-time police officer who retired in January 2011, the same time as former Police Chief Rick Thomas, after 32 years with the force. Accorti was later re-hired as a humane officer through the Police Department.

“Nothing could justify these actions to needlessly shoot a cat and her kittens in someone’s backyard,” Landon said.