(North Ridgeville) - Animal cruelty groups are calling for the firing of North Ridgeville Animal Control Officer Barry Accorti

Accorti is accused of shooting and killing five kittens Monday afternoon in front of a homeowner and at least one of her children. 

Accorti is a retired sergeant with the North Ridgeville Police Department and has worked as a part-time Humane Officer with the department.

According to the homeowner, Accorti responded to a home where a feral mother cat and her kittens were living in a woodpile. The homeowner was concerned the kittens could spread fleas and other diseases.

The homeowner says Accorti told her the shelters were full, before taking out his gun and shooting the five young kittens.

The North Ridgeville Police Department released the following statement:

"On 6-10-2013, a resident on Vista Lake Way contacted NRPD on Facebook regarding a "family of cats" that had made a home in their wood pile. The resident went on to ask if the humane officer would pick them up or would they have to deal with the issue themselves."

"Within twenty minutes NRPD responded back to the resident on Facebook stating that Humane Officer (HO) Accorti would be there shortly. Upon arrival HO Accorti (who has thirty plus years of law enforcement experience) was shown the wood pile where the feral cats were located. The wood piles were located next to a concrete patio approximately ten feet from the residence. The homeowner advised that the feral cats were causing flea problems within the residence, a foul odor, and leaving deceased wildlife in her yard."

"The homeowner was advised that, due to her safety concerns (proximity of wood pile to house, number of children at the residence, diseases feral cats can develop, fleas, unsanitary conditions), assistance could be rendered but the cats would be euthanized. The complainant agreed to accept assistance and the officer started to dismantle the wood pile."

"The cats were located within the wood pile and euthanized. The cats were removed from the wood pile and taken from the residence. The complainant's husband advised that the mother feral cat had been roaming around for several years and he had tried to remove the feral kittens himself but they would hiss and growl at him."

"He also advised that that he had seen numerous other feral cats roaming the neighborhood. Upon conducting a follow-up interview with the complainant she stated she was aware that the feral cats were going to be euthanized but did not expect it to occur on her property. The complainant explained she felt overwhelmed due to the fact that her children were inside the residence and heard the gunshots."

"The complainant urged better communication in the future. NRPD recognizes the concerns 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."

"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. We will talk with the humane officers about improving their communications with the public. We are here to help those who seek our assistance. Our agency prides itself on not telling people, "It's not our problem or there is nothing we can do for you." This would be the easy way out. To walk away and leave a safety issue unresolved is irresponsible. At no time does this agency condone or allow the indiscriminate killing of animals, but we will continue to assist residents when there is a safety or nuisance condition."

(Copyright 2013 Clear Channel, all rights reserved. Photo by Getty Images.) 

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