NORTH RIDGEVILLE — The Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is calling for a local humane officer to be fired and prosecuted for his alleged shooting of five kittens in the backyard of a local home Monday.
“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,” Landon said, referring to Humane Officer Barry Accorti, a long-time police officer who retired a few years ago and was re-hired as one of the city’s humane officers through the police department.
“Nothing could justify these actions,” Landon said.
The Ohio SPCA will be sending letters to Mayor David Gillock and Police Chief Michael Freeman demanding that Accorti lose his job and face charges for the alleged incident, Landon said.
Calls to North Ridgeville police were not returned today, but an initial call to city hall verified city officials are fully aware of the incident, and an investigation is or will shortly be underway.
According to a posting today on the North Ridgeville Police Facebook page, the department took down the page Monday night “due to the overwhelming abuse.”
“Obviously, we are aware of the complaint against H.O. (Humane Officer) Accorti and are looking into it,” the posting said.
The post continued, stating “we understand that emotions run high in this type of incident we absolutely will not tolerate any threats made toward ANYONE on our page.”
The police department posting went on to say that while the city’s law enforcement branch “are firm believers in everyone having their right to express their opinions about what we do, even dissenting, but they must maintain a level of common decency.”
Landon said her agency was aware that the police and city hall were being flooded with online postings and calls regarding the alleged shooting of the kittens.
The state SPCA cannot take any legal action in the matter as it has no jurisdiction over the county or law enforcement agencies located here, Landon said.
Landon said the SPCA understands there are situations in which police or humane officers must act if they are faced with a violent or attacking or badly injured animal.
“If an officer is being charged or there is an animal hit by a car that is suffering greatly, then they must act,” Landon said.
“We’re horrified that this man did this,” Landon said. “He does not deserve the title of humane officer.”
Landon said she had been in contact with the family at whose residence the supposed shootings occurred.
“They do not want people to know who they are or where it happened,” Landon said.
“They are very traumatized by this and they are trying to work through the police department,” Landon said. “They feel the department is being supportive and is on their side.”
Landon added “we don’t buy that. We know how these situations go down and are certain it would be their (police) preference to keep this quiet.”