N.Y. teen gets 18 months in jail for maiming kitten

Jessica Pierce

A teenager was sentenced to 18 months in the Ontario County Jail on Tuesday for throwing a kitten at a refrigerator in a Canandaigua mobile-home park last fall.

Joseph Pratt, 19, of Clifton Springs was sentenced by Judge Craig Doran in Ontario County Court. He had pleaded guilty Dec. 19 to aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony, under state agriculture and markets laws.

“He felt absolutely terrible about what happened to this cat,” Pratt’s attorney, Anthony Daniele, told the judge Tuesday. “He does like animals. He was intoxicated to some degree, and he is embarrassed and humiliated by what he did.”

Pratt told city police he was visiting friends at a trailer in the Red Jacket mobile-home park on Oct. 16 when a friend threw the kitten at the refrigerator. According to court papers, he told police he “thought it would be funny” to follow suit. He said he threw the kitten, and it “became mentally retarded” after striking the refrigerator. He said he huddled around the injured animal while others in the mobile home “started crying and yelling.”

Pratt left for a grocery store, while the occupants of the mobile home tried to help the kitten, court papers claim. One of them told police the cat made “loud screaming noises,” couldn’t move and defecated on itself.

Someone called 911, and police and workers from the county Humane Society arrived. The cat was taken to a veterinarian with severe head injuries. The vet treated the cat, and its owner took it home to try to care for it. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Taylor said he did not know if the animal survived.

Taylor said Pratt could have opted for less jail time had he agreed to be placed on probation after his release. However, he turned that down, opting instead to be behind bars. He will be credited for the length of time he has already served in jail.

Doran urged Pratt to seek professional help. He said, “It’s not a far leap sometimes from doing that to an animal to hurting a human.”

The DA’s office said Pratt has three criminal cases pending in Manchester Town Court. He is facing charges of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, petit larceny, endangering the welfare of a child and sexual misconduct.

Jessica Pierce can be reached at (585) 394-0770, Ext. 250, or at