Ohio SPCA threatens North Ridgeville with lawsuit if conditions are not met

June 20, 2013

The Ohio SPCA has now formally threatened a lawsuit against North Ridgeville in the June 10 shooting deaths of five kittens by Humane Officer Barry Accorti. The case has angered not only animal lovers across the country but also the parents of young children.

John Bell, attorney for the Ohio SPCA, has written a letter to North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock, Chief Mike Freeman and the law department. Unless five conditions are met by June 28, the Ohio SPCA is ready, willing and able to file suit against North Ridgeville.

 Those conditions are:
*Stop shooting cats and firing guns on private property
*Adopt policies that prohibit shooting animals except when absolutely necessary to protect life
*Immediately suspend Accorti without pay or benefits, pending any required hearing on his termination
*Charge Accorti criminally with animal cruelty
*Provide documentation of completion of the first four demands to the Ohio SPCA

The Ohio SPCA issued a press release concerning the lawsuit saying

“Shooting a cat is never legal. It is not painless and therefore violates the ‘immediate and painless’ rule contained in the Ohio Revised Code. It is also expressly illegal to ‘needlessly kill’ any companion animal. No credible authority would ever argue that shooting is an acceptable method of euthanasia.”

According to the OSPCA, Accorti has broken several Ohio Codes and should be charged. These include:

959.131(b)Torture, torment, needlessly mutilate or maim, cruelly beat, poison, needlessly kill, or commit an act of cruelty against the companion animal

959.02 No person shall maliciously, or willfully, and without the consent of the owner, kill or injure a horse, mare, foal, filly, jack, mule, sheep, goat, cow, steer, bull, heifer, ass, ox, swine, dog, cat, or other domestic animal that is the property of another. This section does not apply to a licensed veterinarian acting in an official capacity

2923.162 (B)(2) of this section, discharge a firearm on a lawn, park, pleasure ground, orchard, or other ground appurtenant to a schoolhouse, church, or inhabited dwelling, the property of another, or a charitable institution

Accorti is accused of killing companion animals that were not his property using a method that was not painless. He’s also accused of discharging a firearm on the ground next to an inhabited dwelling that was not his property.

While the SPCA cannot initiate a criminal prosecution of Barry Accorti, they do have the right to sue North Ridgeville. Lawsuits of this type have been successful in other counties to stop shooting as a method of euthanasia.

In a letter written to Lorain County Children Services by a concerned parent, a reply was recently received stating

“With respect to this matter, the parameters and criteria of “child abuse, neglect and dependency” are not met which gives us no authority to “investigate”.

Although Accorti can’t be investigated for possible child endangerment, the Ohio SPCA claims to have possession of incriminating evidence showing how Accorti has made bad decisions in the past and will use this if it becomes necessary.

SPCA director Teresa Landon summed up how we as animal lovers feel about our companion animals,

“We are a nation of animal lovers and the needless killing of cats will not be tolerated.”

While the AOSPCA would like to have settled this incident through education and support for trained individuals, the unsurpassed cruelty shown to these five kittens, followed by a government community who refused to punish one of their own, left no choice but to demand the five conditions listed above be met.

If not, a lawsuit will be filed after the June 28 deadline. To read the full letter written by attorney John Bell, please scroll down on this link.



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