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Thursday, December 14, 2017 Elyria 17°
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Fired North Ridgeville humane officer won't be charged

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NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Barry Accorti was fired from his position of police humane officer for violating the city’s policy on euthanizing animals, but he will not face criminal charges.

On Wednesday, Accorti was terminated after a man accused him of killing several baby rabbits by breaking their necks on the tailgate of his truck.

“It was directly against policy,” North Ridgeville Law Director Andrew Crites said Thursday. “That’s why he was terminated. After the kitten incident, we tightened up our policy on animal wardens in 2014, and a big part of it was that no animals, including no pest animals, shall be dispatched on the scene. The animal should be taken away from the scene if (it is) going to be euthanized.”

In 2013, Accorti shot and killed five feral kittens, prompting protests from the community and calls for him to be fired. A year later, a North Ridgeville resident claimed Accorti shot and killed a baby raccoon in front of three children, one of whom was his son.

Accorti’s action earlier this week was the final straw.

“In the opinion of his superior, Police Chief Michael Freeman, it was a clear violation of our animal warden policies, which were adopted and revised in 2014,” Crites said. “That primarily was the reason he was terminated.”

Some believe that Accorti losing his job isn’t enough and would like to see him charged.

Sarah McCabe, a staff sergeant with the U.S. Air Force at Wright-Patterson who is originally from North Ridgeville, sent an email to Crites, Freeman and North Ridgeville Assistant Law Director Toni Morgan stating that she felt Accorti should face criminal charges.

McCabe cited the Ohio Revised Code, Title 9, Chapter 959.13, on cruelty to animals, which says that no person shall “torture an animal, deprive one of necessary sustenance, cruelly beat, needlessly mutilate or kill, or impound or confine an animal. …”

“I sent it merely to express my opinion. I’m not a lawyer, but I really care about animals,” she said. “The things that (Accorti) has done throughout his career are deplorable. While I appreciate him being fired, I just wanted to say that there’s probably a lot of support out there for the city to actually hold him accountable by pressing charges against him.”

McCabe got a response, albeit an accidental one.

Crites replied to all in the message, saying, “Bless her for expressing her opinion, which is not by the way unreasonable. But, I do not suggest a response is warranted. I disagree with her conclusion for the reason that Accorti was working in his official capacity and performing job duties, be them in a manner that violated policy, therefore the cited elements for the criminal statute cannot be met. But again, I see no benefit in arguing that point with this person who does have reason to be offended by the incident. Nothing to be gained.”

Crites admitted he didn’t mean to send the message to McCabe.

“Hopefully I’m a better lawyer than an email sender,” he said. “I’ve been in a panic today working on a number of other items, and I accidentally pressed ‘reply all.’ ”

McCabe was slightly offended by the response.

“It surprising to see that he responded with ‘Bless her for expressing her opinion…’ I felt that was very condescending,” she said. “That’s just something people say to be rude, in my opinion. If he wants to tell his people ‘don’t bother to respond,’ that’s fine, but you should definitely be more careful when you’re clicking ‘reply all.’”

While he didn’t mean for the email to get out, Crites said that’s still the city’s stance on the matter.

“That is the position on any inquiry or accusation that Accorti should be charged criminally,” Crites said. “This is something we looked at before, and I looked at that statute before she sent it to us. That’s our position as to why he has not, and will not, be charged.”

Contact Scott Mahoney at 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.



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