And the award for a-hole of the year goes to “humane” officer Barry Accorti of North Ridgeville, Ohio, for pulling out his gun and shooting and killing a litter of five innocent kittens.
If you haven’t seen this story, let me recap: Accorti was dispatched to a home where a woman complained of a mom feral cat and some kittens living in a woodpile near her home. She said they were a nuisance, leading fleas into her house and leaving dead wildlife in her yard. She wanted them removed for the health of her family, she said.
Accorti, who is a retired police sergeant and now a part-time humane officer, arrived shortly after receiving the call. With the homeowner and mother of four standing by, he found the family of cats in the woodpile and told her that the shelters were full, and that the cats would go to “kitty heaven.”
That’s when he opened fire on the five kittens and their mother, killing all the 8- to 10-week-old babies on the spot. The woman was standing nearby. The children were watching from inside the house. The mother cat ran away and was not injured.
It’s at this point in reading the news story that completely I lost it.
This guy is a humane officer? He thought it was a good idea to murder five kittens, right there on the spot? I get that shelters are full, and these babies probably wouldn’t stand a chance there, but was there any reason why they shouldn’t at least have the chance? And at the very least, would it have been so hard to simply trap the kittens or put them in a carrier and take them to the shelter, so they could be humanely euthanized?
Then I kept reading, and my jaw dropped even farther in disbelief. The police chief of North Ridgeville released a statement on the department’s Facebook page that defends Accorti’s actions and clears him of any wrongdoing.
“After visiting the scene, talking with the responding officer, and re-interviewing the complainant, I have decided his actions were appropriate and have decided not to impose any disciplinary measures for the incident,” Chief Mike Freeman said.
He said that because of the woman’s concerns, and the diseases and fleas that feral cats can develop, this was the right way to resolve the issue.
Later in the statement, he says this: “The NRPD recognizes the concern of those who believe feral cats should not be killed for simply trying to survive but also acknowledges other research that recognizes the risks associated with these animals and the need to manage feral cats. Research and other animal organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia.”
Speaking of animal organizations (who do NOT, by the way, think this is humane, Chief Freeman), the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is calling for Accorti to be fired. OSPCA Executive Director Teresa Landon says Accorti should be fired and charged with five counts of animal cruelty.
I know there are horrible stories all the time, but for some reason this one goes deeper. After all the rescue work that I do and help with, and all the people and hours and effort we put into saving just one kitten sometimes, this man can just pull out his gun and murder five of them without even blinking and eye — and then get a vote of confidence from his boss. They’re just gone. No help, no chance, no nothing.
I have never felt more defeated and sad. So many people work so hard to save and rescue kittens from shelters and from situations like these. We dedicate much of our lives to it, to help those who can’t help themselves. Kittens just like these five. We plead for fosters, spend money on vet care, find them homes or rescues, and sometimes even drive them thousands of miles to get to a place where they’ll be loved and safe.
And this idiot can just blow away a whole family in seconds, and somehow it’s not wrong. In fact, it’s considered “appropriate.”
This is not okay. This cannot be okay. This cannot set a precedent. People cannot believe that it is okay to walk outside with your gun and shoot cats.
There are people like me who work tirelessly to save animals. Every life is precious. Every one saved is a win and a reason to celebrate. Every single time one is rescued, there is this amazing feeling of just having been a part of something wonderful and really making a difference.
A favorite quote of mine says: “Saving one animal won’t change the world, but it will change the world for that one animal.”
In rescue, we cling to that. We truly believe it, and we know it’s true. And then this “humane” officer goes and does this?
I’m sad for all the children who have to read and hear about this story, and especially for the children who had to watch it happen. I’m sad and concerned for the mom cat who escaped the bullet storm, and hope that someone includes her in a trap-neuter-return effort so that no more babies will meet this fate. I’m sad for the five kittens, who, had they been in my neighborhood, would probably be in someone’s bathroom right now, surrounded by plenty of food, toys, and love, growing up big and strong and waiting patiently to find their forever homes.
Most of all, I’m sad for society as a whole. Who are we to be able to do this to innocent creatures? We have to respect animals and teach others to do the same.
What can you do?
The Ohio SPCA suggests people call and email the North Ridgeville Police Department and express their opinion.
What do you think? Does this outrage you like it does me? Let me know in the comments.
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