It’s Okay To Shoot Kittens As Long As We Can’t See

Multiple sources.

Multiple sources.

A sadly tiny blip across the “WTF” radar was the shooting of five kittens by an Ohio policeman named Bob (or Barry) Accorti on June 10, 2013.  The story in brief: homeowner has litter of feral cats in her woodpile; calls police; police send Accorti (a “part-time humane officer”, according to the North Ridgeville, OH, police web site).  The homeowner assumes, and Accorti tells the homeowner specifically, that the cats will be “euthanized” as “the shelters are all full”.  Homeowner pictures “euthanasia” involving the cats being trapped and taken to a shelter and euthanized there.  Accorti, however, conforms to the traditional police method of euthanasia (another link, another link) for “nuisance animals” — and instead shoots the 8-10-week old kittens, right in front of the homeowner and her young children who are watching through the windows.

The department has cleared him of any wrongdoing, concluding that the officer acted as required to remove the nuisance animals and that “research and other animal organizations accept shooting as an acceptable means of euthanasia.”  (Well, yes, they do, but “with conditions” and only in “emergency situations”, requiring that personnel be “highly skilled” and that “pre-euthanasia sedation is recommended” because cats “may be difficult to shoot humanely” (section S1.3.3).)  He was, perhaps, extremely tactless about it, but he did the job he was called to do, and did it in a legally acceptable manner.

Using phrases like “screaming kids” and “helpless kittens“, multiple individuals and organizations are trying to get Accorti punished, somehow, for shooting the kittens.  However, they can’t punish him for shooting the kittens, because shooting kittens is, technically, a viable option, and legal (at least in Ohio) — so instead they’re trying to punish him for shooting the kittens in front of the children.

I am of two minds on this point: I believe we should at least be open and honest about the horrible things we do to animals (only by publicly acknowledging that these things are being done can we stop them being done).  If you’re going to shoot kittens, you should not be able to do it in secret — you should have to do it right out in the open so everybody knows it’s happening, and has ample opportunity to object and/or stop you.  However, I also believe there is a required maturity level juvenile humans should reach before being confronted with concepts like “things die” and “sometimes we cause things to die”, and that the officer was not in a position to dictate whether or not those kids were at that maturity level.  In any case, the officer probably should have at least warned the homeowner before firing, so she could choose whether or not she wanted to educate her children about those ideas at that exact moment.

I think the bigger point, however, is this: if we’re offended and horrified by the shooting of kittens, so much so that we don’t want our children exposed to it, and don’t want to see it ourselves — why don’t we attack, and call to ban, “the shooting of kittens” instead of “the shooting of kittens in front of children“?  Officer Accorti, and his actions, are not the problem here — the problem is that our legal system still regards “gunshot to the head” as a viable method of euthanasia for cats (and a bunch of other animals, including dogs).  If we think that’s so horrible that we’re willing to lynch a guy for doing it, maybe we ought to consider passing legislation prohibiting that method of “euthanasia”.

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3 responses to “It’s Okay To Shoot Kittens As Long As We Can’t See

  1. I am not opposed to euthanizing feral cats, however, a gunshot to the head is not acceptable. Your citation supporting the gunshot method is an undergraduate report with no links to the research they used to form their opinion, and therefore pretty useless as a reference. And my reading of the Ohio statutes does not seem to support your contention that shooting a feral cat is legal. You might want to read the law again. I did not research North Ridgeville ordinances, but most cities frown on discharging a firearm within city limits. Officer Accorti’s lack of common sense and decency disqualifies him from a job in animal control and he needs to resign or be fired.

    • Hi there! Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting on it! It’s so nice to know people are listening.

      I’m sorry — I really do try to find good references, although sometimes things get a little muddled. I thought my citation supporting the gunshot method was a link to the AVMA Guidelines for Euthanasia, which is generally considered “the” work on the topic. Section S1.3.3 is the bit that deals specifically with cats, and it does specifically mention that gunshot is appropriate — in “emergency situations” only, although who knows what an “emergency situation” is or who defines it.

      According to the Ohio.gov web site, the Ohio statutes for “destruction of domestic animals” (what a phrase!) (section 959.06) say:

      (A) No person shall destroy any domestic animal by the use of a high altitude decompression chamber or by any method other than a method that immediately and painlessly renders the domestic animal initially unconscious and subsequently dead.

      …and that’s pretty much it, which means you can do pretty much anything you want to “destroy” a domestic animal such as a cat, provided it “immediately and painlessly” renders it unconscious, then dead. This includes — at the moment — gunfire.

      Do I personally agree with any of this? No! Do I want police officers shooting kittens in anybody’s back yard? No! So what was the point of my goofy article? Even though I think that what he did was horrible, that poor, foolish, tactless idiot of an officer did nothing wrong — according to the law. That means the law is messed up, terrible, and wrong, and needs to be changed! And instead of lynching the officer (no matter how much he may deserve it) we need to call attention to the fact that the law is really messed up if it, essentially, says that it’s legal to shoot a kitten. We need to get that bad boy fixed! (Also, if we work to change that law, next time some moron — in or out of uniform — shoots a kitten, he will be punished for it!)

      Thanks again for commenting! I’m sorry if I didn’t make sense…shooting kittens makes me sad. :(

  2. Who ever did an Evil things too others will not find his way home in too God s Heart ;-( ;-( like that Evil Police Nan who done bad too the Mother Cat & Her Kittens.

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