North Ridgeville animal control officer fired after killing baby rabbits

NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio – A local animal control officer was fired shortly after a man said the officer killed baby rabbits in front of him, the FOX 8 I-Team learned.

North Ridgeville Police Chief Michael Freeman told the I-Team Animal Control Officer Barry Accorti was terminated Wednesday morning.

Freeman would not say specifically why Accorti was fired. He did say Accorti worked for the department for several years and did a lot of good work while employed.

The firing did come shortly after a man complained that Accorti killed five rabbits in front of him.

Sheldon Jones said he called North Ridgeville Animal Control Tuesday after he accidentally killed a baby rabbit with his lawn mower. He said he found five other baby rabbits that were not injured and called police for assistance.

“I thought they may know of an animal rescue that would take the bunnies,” Jones said. “I put the bunnies in a bucket and waited for the officer to arrive.”

He said a short time later Accorti arrived. He said what happened next, shocked him.

“When the officer got out here, he took the rabbits,” Jones said. “We didn’t exchange very many words. And he went over to the bed of his truck at the end of the driveway and smashed their necks on the bed of his truck.”

Jones and his girlfriend, Sharon Sheehan, who owns a pet rabbit, said they did not want the animals killed.

“He never asked me if we wanted to keep them because had he asked I would have said yes,” Jones said. “I had no idea he was going to kill them. He never told me that.”

We asked Accorti Wednesday if the allegations were true. He declined to respond.

“I am not interested in talking to you folks. Not even a little bit,” Accorti said.

Accorti faced controversy in the past, including in 2013 when several people wanted him fired after he was accused of killing feral kittens.

The police chief said he does not believe Accorti violated any criminal laws, but Jones and Sheehan said they want him to be criminally charged.

“I think something needs to be done with him,” Jones said.