(Normally a story like this would make my head explode, but my head is apparently too disgusted to blow.)
This incident sounds like a sick joke in “Policy Academy 6” that ended up on the cutting room floor, but unfortunately, it really happened.
Dispatched to a home to deal with a feral mother cat and her five adorable kittens discovered in the yard, Bob Accorti, the Humane Officer for the North Ridgeville Police Department, told the homeowner that the animal shelters were full but that he would make sure that the cats went to “kitty heaven.” He then too out his revolver and shot the five kittens, estimated to be between 8 and 10 weeks old. The homeowner’s children, aged 5 months to 7 years, watched in horror from inside the house.
The mother cat escaped during the slaughter.
After a complaint of animal cruelty was raised by the Ohio Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, NRPD Chief Mike Freeman responded that no discipline was necessary or appropriate, as he reasoned that “animal organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia.”
The chief did concede that Accorti could have communicated better with the homeowner about how the kittens would be killed.
Be thankful for small mercies: Accorti was the Humane Officer. I assume one of the non-Humane officers would have stomped the kittens to death.
Was shooting the kittens necessary?
Is shooting kittens ever necessary?
Was shooting the kittens appropriate?
Is shooting kittens ever appropriate?
Should an ethics alarm have sounded for any rational police officer before he decided to slaughter kittens in front of children using a firearm?
What does it tell us about that officer, and his department, that no such alarm sounded, that he shot the kittens in front of screaming and crying toddlers, and that his department thought it was perfectly acceptable?
It means that the officer and his supervisors have wretched judgment, and that members of the North Ridgeville, Ohio community should fear for their lives.
Pointer: Legal Satyricon
Facts: Huffington Post
*Kaboom! is the Ethics Alarms designation for conduct so unethical that it causes the author’s head to explode.
36 thoughts on “KABOOM!* Kitten-Shooting By The Police…In Front of Children”
There are no words for how I feel about this. Horrified comes close.
Would you prefer some of the other methods of animal euthanasia allowed in Ohio? Like shooting a bolt into the animal’s head? Or how about ripping the head off? Or perhaps rotating blades that chop them up? Those are ALL acceptable means of euthanasia in Ohio. I think he did the kittens a service making it quick and mostly painless, considering some of the alternatives that are allowed.
And shot them in front of children.
To my mind, a police officer unnecessarily killing an animal is an event of signature significance. This is not a case of officer safety, and it’s not putting an animal out of its misery. This is someone who just found himself a chance to have some fun by killing helpless creatures. This is a sociopath slipping up and revealing himself by doing something that normal people wouldn’t do.
That Chief Freeman doesn’t see it that way suggests that he’s either being fooled by a sociopath or he just doesn’t care, neither of which bodes well for his department.
A perfect 10, WP!
As a soon-to-be-retired 40-year law enforcement veteran, I am (at least temporarily) speechless, appalled that such an act would be either committed or defended by any agency. I’ve certainly been operating under a completely different set of values for the last four decades. Incredible.
I am sure this act violating some hunting laws.
Well, I assume it was kitten hunting season…
It is appropriate to shoot kittens in the unlikely but possible case that they are rabid or similar and it is unsafe to deal with them otherwise.
1. Thank you, Captain Obvious. I was waiting for the rapid/vampire/zombie/evil kitten exception. Glad to have it out of the way.
2. If you leave out the small “Shooting kittens in front of little children” element of the story, you aren’t really dealing with the issues.
I was, however, dealing with what you wrote, unqualified and unconditional statements and all. Not to do so would be like, say, accepting that the detailed wording of a law about health care didn’t matter. He who is faithful in little…
Not really, PM. If they were rabid kittens, I would have said so, and the qualifications you so helpfully added were to be assumed. You forgot giant, mutant kittens. I agree–if the kittens were the size of, say, Bengal tigers, the calculations change.
I just need to know 2 things:
1) if Stand Your Ground did or did not apply in this instance.
2) the race of each individual involved.
Boy, talk about an “-ick” factor! I literally do not want to live in the same town as this psycho…or his chief.
This happened to me — I was about 10. My dad gave permission to an older cousin to use some of my kittens as target practice — they didn’t know I was home. My cousin and dad were ashamed when they saw me — crying hysterically of course. Target practice immediately ended. But, this isn’t the mark of a sociopath — unless you assume most rural denizens are sociopaths. Kittens are viewed as a nuisance in the country — especially in the Midwest and South.
Nightmares to this day.
ARRGHHHHHH!!!! Good lord…the fact that you ended up sane and functioning is a miracle. Did they throw the kittens in the air like skeets??
No, they started running once the bullets went flying.
Ah. Well, that did make it all more sporting, then.
I had a great-great aunt who allowed, so I’m told, about 150-200 cats on their farming spread in rural Oklahoma in the late 40s, early 50s. They were disease-ridden and vermin-infested and spread the same, and in most instances, feral.
Occasionally during family reunions, so I’m told, my great-uncle (her brother) would take his .45 pistol to the stock pond at the far edge of the property to shoot bottles or other targets. The cats ever-so-interested often followed. Now, my great-uncle, so I’m told, often advised his sister that that many cats was appalling and unhealthy and they ought to have been spayed before the mini-population crisis arose. She didn’t want to hear a word of it.
So, during his target practice outings, 150-200 cats would follow him and when he’d return, my great-aunt would then have about 140-190 cats, so I’m told. This continued apparently unnoticed by my great-aunt in perpetuity, until my great-uncle (a disillusioned WW2 vet) felt the population was as low as he could get it before she’d notice, so I’m told.
I have a completely different set of experiences when it comes to killing kittens. Growing up in rural Manitoba, we appreciated the feral cat herd’s ability to keep mice down, but sometimes after an especially mild winter, the population would turn into something between an annoyance and a hazard, and feral cats would temporarily get lumped into the same category as coyotes, wolves, and even the odd bear that wandered into the yard. There were rules, and we were taught respect for the firearms, but I have many a fond memory sitting beside my dad and sister pegging cats at 100 yards (and then later, many fond memories of actual hunting). Maybe I’m weird.
I realize this doesn’t excuse the officer at all, and I don’t mean to, the man is an idiot. Just a different take on the situation.
We used to shoot ground squirrels on the ranch that way, but I never heard of shooting cats. Maybe the winters are too cold or the cougars to close to us, but I don’t recall a feral cat problem. If there had been I’m sure shooting them would have been the solution. My dad had to shoot dogs that ran in packs.
But not in front of little kids.
Nope, I just related a story quite similar to this.
I think a clear ethical consideration is ferality (sounds like a good word) vs domestication makes a difference in the calculations… which is easily a slippery slope.
That is why there is a trap, spay and release program. BC has greatly reduced it’s feral cat problem by doing this. Much more humane.
In Colorado, a man has been sentenced to over two years in prison for killing a kitten. Will Bob Acorti be criminally prosecuted for doing it FIVE times in front of impressionable young children?
I’ll be surprised if he gets fired.
One set of rules for the ruled, and another for our rulers. This is the sickness infecting America.
I would LOVE you to link that story, I was under the impression that even the most chilling of animal cruelty cases didn’t carry jail time.
I actually found it…. Wow. There were extenuating circumstances, but this is the single longest animal cruelty sentence I’ve ever seen.
No, I don’t have a link, but several years ago, a man in San Antonio was given 5 years for throwing a cat on his hot barbecue grill and closing the lid. The cat survived, surprisingly, using up lives 3 through 7.
Another compilation of cops shooting inoffensive animals is on my to-do list. This particular story is over a year old; I wrote about it and some other similar stories last summer.
Accepting that the officer’s method of dispatching the cats was unethical, what then of them?
If the shelters were full, what then? The family didn’t want them.
Does the humane officer, on public funds then go door to door to find a willing family? Does he drive to the wilds and release them, which only “hopefully” solves the problem while possibly creating or adding to other problems? Does he spend his publicly funded time or his personal time finding a specific charity organization that handles this kind of problem?
One of our subdivisions here had a deer hop a fence only to come down on the fence then, in a panic, break both its hind legs. The officer sent to resolve the situation was likewise hampered by no facilities to handle such and clear rules that said “put the animal out of its misery and leave the remains on city but restricted property” thereby letting vultures, flies, and bacteria handle disposal (according to him). Of course, he could easily have left the deer in the wild alive, to avoid the whole shooting situation, in which case we’d then add coyotes to the “vultures, flies, and bacteria” part of disposal.
The humane officer puts them in a sack, says goodbye to the children, and privately disposes of the kittens as humanely as possible.
Then we agree.
There are any number of no-kill volunteer agencies in my area that routinely work with shelters so animals don’t need to be put down — absent disease. I’m on the email list for shelters who advertise daily the animals who need temporary homes. Then these animals are privately placed. Sometimes it takes a few days, other times a few months. I’m surprised that this model isn’t more widespread because it really works.
I’m surprised the homeowner called the authorities and didn’t handle things themselves and get to enjoy deer jerky and venison for several months.
I’d say that someone who could act this callously against the most innocent and helpless creatures on Earth is just one small step from being able to do the same on human children.
Judging by the circumstances of this case, I would agree. The cop Acorti couldn’t wait to dispose of the kittens – in other words, he wanted to kill the kittens. And he wanted to kill so badly that he didn’t take into account the children nearby.
Most of use here agree that sometimes it’s necessary to dispose of animals. This cop simply found an excuse to kill. He could easily, as others have noted, taken the kittens away and killed them. Or posted an ad on Craigslist or something. People like kittens, especially “rescues,” and he would have been able to get rid of them quickly. It doesn’t take much for a feral kitten to become domesticated.
I wonder if Acorti the Cop! also likes fires and has bedwetting problems? Hmmm…
Also, what’s more troubling is that the police chief basically said, “oh, that’s cool.” Makes sense if you want to keep an investigation low key, but still it encourages unnecessary violence.