NORTH RIDGEVILLE -- People rallied in North Ridgeville Wednesday morning, angry over a humane officer's shooting of five feral kittens.
Dozens showed up for the rally, upset that the police department is backing the humane officer involved in the incident.
Many of those attending the rally Wednesday morning brought their own pets with them. They carried signs, including those asking for harsher penalties for animal abuse.
They are upset over an incident in which retired police sergeant and part-time humane officer Barry Accorti was called to in a North Ridgeville neighborhood by a woman who wanted a feral mother cat and litter of kittens removed from her backyard wood pile.
The woman says she had safety concerns regarding the animals, including a flea problem inside her home.
In a statement, police said they informed the homeowner the cats would be euthanized. Police say the woman accepted this.
The homeowner, however, says she thought the animals would be taken off site to a shelter to be euthanized and was, instead, stunned when the humane officer shot and killed the five kittens right there in the yard and while her children were in the house.
Those at the rally spoke out about the incident to WKYC.
"To know that someone who supposedly represents the Humane Society would pull a gun out with children present and kill those innocent kittens is disgusting. And the whole community thinks so, and I'd love to know what the police chief thinks because I know he's hearing from everyone."
"They're supposed to be our model, our role models. Especially in this instance, when the kids were right in the house. You know, how many other kids were around in that neighborhood? Shooting a firearm off in city limits in a neighborhood. I think that was just really poor judgment."
In a lengthy statement issued on Monday, the police chief said, in part: "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."
Read the full statement: http://www.wkyc.com/news/article/302822/45/SPCA-wants-humane-officer-who-shot-kittens-fired