Wednesday, May 3, 2017

New York: Gary Pratt threatened news crew after his wife Michelle Benners-Pratt, 51, charged with animal cruelty

NEW YORK -- The husband of a Bay Shore woman charged with animal cruelty over the weekend has been charged with threatening a News 12 Long Island camerawoman outside their home, Suffolk County police said Tuesday.

Assistant Suffolk County Police Commissioner Justin Meyers said in an emailed statement that Gary Pratt, 57, of North Thompson Drive, was arrested at about 4:30 p.m. Monday and charged with second-degree menacing.

Meyers said the arrest was made after Pratt “made a threat against a camerawoman who was in front of his residence.”

On Monday the Suffolk County SPCA issued a news release saying that Pratt’s wife, Michelle Benners-Pratt, 51, had been charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty because of the “unhealthy, sanitary, deplorable conditions” in which 10 birds and a Cavachon dog were found when agency detectives went to her home Saturday after a complaint about animal neglect.

In a Monday telephone interview, Suffolk County SPCA Chief Roy Gross said the conditions were so bad that the fire department had to be called to ventilate the home, which he said was filled with feces and flies.

A News 12 video shows that when the camerawoman went to the couple’s home to cover the story, a man who is said to be Pratt suddenly appears in a black ski mask with the lower half covering his nose and mouth.

Pratt has with him a German shepherd on a leash and approaches the camerawoman asking, “What do you want? What are you here for?” The camera shakes as the camerawoman answers, “We’re here for the news.”

The camera continues to move erratically and then the camera woman shouts to Pratt, “Don’t touch my car!”

Benners-Pratt is due in First District Court in Central Islip on July 29 to answer the charges.


Neither Pratt nor Benners-Pratt could be reached for comment.

Gross said the Cavachon and the birds were removed from the home and taken to the Town of Islip’s animal shelter for health evaluations and added they might be available for adoption at some point.

(Newsday - May 2, 2017)


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