The man from the Florida Keys caught on camera dragging a leashed cat behind his motorized scooter pleaded guilty in court, and on Friday was sentenced to 12-months’ probation.
According to The Miami Herald, Neptune Lester Hugo Steele, 47, from Pine Key, had been arrested in late March when a video from a resident’s Ring camera had been posted a video on Facebook for Pine Key residents.
The video showed an apparently inebriated man with a wide brim hat driving a motorized scooter. One cat had been in the basket in the back, and another cat was leashed and being dragged. Authorities were able to confirm a bloody trail and Steele’s identity. Steele told a neighbor one of the cats had been hit by a car. That neighbor had discovered the cat severely injured and brought her to an emergency veterinarian.
Deputies were able to match the scooter to Steele, although he originally denied dragging the cat by the leash.
The cat’s paws were severely injured, however the cat recovered under the care of the Florida Keys Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Steele also has to cooperate with the humane organization who will perform periodic welfare checks on any animals in his home. In addition to the probation, Steele has fined $1,000 and must undergo psychological evaluation.
The decision to return the cat named Toppy to Steele had been made earlier this year by Monroe County Judge Peary Fowler who presided over the case ending in a plea agreement in July.
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