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NORTH RIDGEVILLE, Ohio — Cat lovers are outraged after a North Ridgeville humane officer shoots five kittens behind a family’s home.

The Pooch Patrol will stage a walk in North Ridgeville Wednesday morning to demonstrate animal abuse awareness after the incident.

The North Ridgeville police chief stands by the officer’s actions, saying feral cats need “managed” when people complain about them. But the Ohio SPCA is calling for the officer to face criminal charges.

The Ohio SPCA said the family who lives at the home was horrified when the kittens were shot to death. They didn’t want to talk, but their neighbor, Carmen Calabrise, did.

“I understand they have to be euthanized. I don’t necessarily agree with that, but if it has to be done it doesn’t need to be done in front of the kids,” Calabrise said. “He shouldn’t have shot them.

According to police, Calabrise’s neighbor had notified police via Facebook that there was a feral cat and her kittens living in a woodpile behind her home, and she wanted them removed. Humane Officer Barry Accorti responded.

The Ohio SPCA said the officer then shot and killed the kittens while the woman’s children were just yards away inside the home. The woman was upset and contacted the Ohio SPCA after the incident.

“He explained to her that the shelters were full and the cats would be going to kitty heaven,” Teresa Landon, executive director for the Ohip SPCA, said.

In a statement, the chief said in part: “Research and other animal organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia.”

“We are in the process right now of sending our official request that Officer Accorti be disciplined, relieved of his duties as a humane officer permanently and be charged with five counts of animal cruelty,” Landon said.

The Friendship Animal Protection League is also investigating.

The Pooch Patrol demonstration will be held Wednesday at 8:30 a.m., starting at the North Ridgeville Branch Library, located at 35700 Bainbridge Road.

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