Florida Keys

Man who dragged cat behind scooter won’t serve jail time. He also got his cat back

Florida man drags a cat behind his motorized scooter

A Big Pine Key man was arrested Monday after police said he dragged a cat on a leash behind his motorized scooter. He was intoxicated at the time, police said. The cat remained alive Monday in the Florida Keys.
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A Big Pine Key man was arrested Monday after police said he dragged a cat on a leash behind his motorized scooter. He was intoxicated at the time, police said. The cat remained alive Monday in the Florida Keys.

The Florida Keys man caught on video dragging his cat on a leash from behind his scooter has pleaded guilty in court and received a sentence of 12 months’ probation.

Neptune Lester Hugo Steele, 47, also got his cat, Toppy, back.

He must also pay a $1,000 fine and undergo a psychological evaluation, according to the plea deal.

He was originally charged with felony cruelty to animals after his arrest March 25.

Steele must also cooperate with the Florida Keys SPCA, which will make periodic welfare checks on any animals he owns

Steele told police the cat had been hit by a car and denied dragging it from behind his scooter. He was drunk when Monroe County sheriff’s deputies found him at his Big Pine Key home after the dragging had been reported.

But a homeowner’s Ring surveillance system captured Steele driving up to a home on Avenue F on Big Pine Key with a cat in a basket. Steele looked under the house and then made a beeline out of the driveway.

All the while, a second cat that appears black on the black-and-white footage, is struggling as it’s being dragged on a leash affixed to the back of the scooter.

Deputies followed a trail of blood that measured six blocks from the dragging of the cat, which suffered severe paw injuries.

The homeowner posted the video on Facebook asking if anyone could identify the scooter rider. The video drew the ire of Sheriff Rick Ramsay, who said he made the case his top priority when Steele was arrested.

Monroe County Judge Peary Fowler earlier this year made the decision to let Steele have Toppy back. She presided over the case, which came to a resolution July 18.

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