NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio - The wood pile where a mother feral cat's five kittens were nestled before they were shot and killed was disheveled Wednesday afternoon.
The homeowner who sat by listening along with her small children as the kittens were shot by former North Ridgeville police officer Barry Accorti, who now works as a humane officer, told me she is distraught behind the incident.
She said she initially reached out to the North Ridgeville Police Department on Facebook to ask for help removing the animals from a wood pile behind her home. The mother of three told police she was concerned about the cats causing flea problems, foul odor and leaving dead animals in the yard. Plus, when her husband tried to remove the cats, they hissed and growled at him.
Police told her the cats would have to be euthanized. When Accorti arrived, the wood pile was dismantled and the cats removed from it. The woman's three children were inside the home when shots rang out.
The victim declined an on-camera interview, but told me she and her husband want the officer to be fired. She said she called for help in good faith and had no idea the officer would act so violently and shoot the animals. She said she's afraid for her family.
Her neighbor, Darlene Calabrise, said she and other neighbors have been comforting the victim.
"I'd be very upset with them. I don't think it's right at all," Calabrise said.
The victim's husband said he has been communicating with the chief of police and the mayor of North Ridgeville regarding this incident.
Outraged neighbors said the humane officer's actions were out of line.
"I think he should have done it elsewhere if that was going to happen. He should have brought that to her attention," Calabrise said.
Police Chief Mike Freeman said the officer took appropriate action. He said he would not impose any disciplinary actions, and said to walk away and leave a safety issue unresolved would be irresponsible.
Meanwhile, a community rally was held Wednesday evening against the shooting. The group called for the removal of the humane officer.