November 26, 2014

Elyria
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3. Shooting of kittens triggers public outrage

North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman addresses the large crowd who attended a City Council meeting on June 17. The crowd came to voice their opinions on the killing of five kittens by a North Ridgeville humane officer. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

North Ridgeville Police Chief Mike Freeman addresses the large crowd who attended a City Council meeting on June 17. The crowd came to voice their opinions on the killing of five kittens by a North Ridgeville humane officer. CHRONICLE FILE PHOTO

It began as a furious barrage of online anger triggered by the June 10 shooting of five feral kittens by North Ridgeville Humane Officer Barry Accorti.

Before the furor died down some months later, online petitions signed by thousands around Ohio and beyond demanded Accorti’s firing, while animal rights groups threatened legal action against the city.

Outrage over the shootings was fierce, as demonstrated by scores of sign carriers outside a three-hour City Council meeting during which some 30 people vented their anger over the incident, which came in response to a resident’s call for help with unwanted cats on her property.

The unforeseen backlash generated online responses from around the globe, including respondents from Great Britain, Greenland, and other countries.

Accorti was cleared of wrongdoing by Police Chief Michael Freeman.

The city subsequently altered its policies to say it would no longer send police or humane officers to handle feral cat calls except in extreme cases.