It reads like a horrifying scene in a movie about psychopaths.
A resident of Vista Lake Way, Ohio, called her local police department to tell them that a family of feral cats had made a home in her wood pile. The police officer, Humane Officer Barry Accorti, arrived about 20 minutes later.
But instead of pulling out protective gloves, or his phone to request a shelter to pick up the animals, he pulled out his gun.
“He [Accorti] informed her that shelters were full and that these cats would be going to kitty heaven,” Ohio SPCA Director Teresa Landon told The Sun News. “She assumed he would be trapping them or something and taking them to a shelter and they would be humanely euthanized if they were not adopted.”
But there would be no hope of adoption for these kittens. Instead, the officer opened fire on the defenseless kittens, slaughtering them while the woman’s children watched, crying, from an upstairs bedroom window.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Landon said. “There is no excuse for it. It’s absolutely shameful that someone with the title of humane officer would do this.”
Apparently, this is par for the course in Ohio. Police Chief Mike Freeman almost immediately cleared the officer of wrongdoing, saying “research and other animal organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia.”
According to Freeman and The Sun News, the homeowner said in a follow-up interview that “she was aware the cats were going to be euthanized but did not expect it to occur on her property. She explained she felt overwhelmed due to her children being inside the home and hearing the gunshots.”
On Tuesday, the Facebook page of the North Ridgeville Police Department was bombarded with so many negative comments, it was taken down for a few hours. It was still inaccessible at the time this post was written.
The situation highlights two important animal welfare issues. First, the absolute importance of spaying and neutering your pets, especially those that are allowed to wander freely outside your home. Second, the calloused mentality toward feral animals that kill shelters have encouraged in our society.
Shelters that euthanize animals teach us that there are only so many cages available. With only so much room at the inn, and new animals being rescued or found all the time, something has to be done to make room. So animals that are old, or otherwise undesirable, are simply killed. We accept it as a fact of life, but in fact it’s disrespect for life, as demonstrated by the “humane” officer’s explanation to the woman, and his subsequent actions.
If you believe that Humane Officer Barry Accorti acted inappropriately, and should not have fired his gun into a woodpile, killing defenseless kittens in a residential neighborhood, please sign the petition below.
Image via Thinkstock