1 Fort Lauderdale
News & Reviews
A Florida Keys man was arrested Monday after police said he dragged a cat on a leash from the back of his motorized scooter for several blocks.
Neptune Lester Hugo Steele, 47, who is listed as a cook, was arrested on a felony charge of animal cruelty after police made quick work of the case after seeing video on Facebook of the cat being dragged.
In the video, captured by a homeowner’s Ring surveillance system and posted Monday morning — the video was taken down by Monday afternoon — a scooter rider with one cat in a basket drives up to the home in the 31000 block of Avenue F, looked under the house and then makes a beeline out of the driveway.
“Looks like he was checking out what’s under my house until motion lights came on,” wrote David Charles Landis, who posted the video on the “What’s Up Florida Keys? Locals Only” page asking if anyone could identify the scooter rider.
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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.
A woman called police and told deputies she took the cat to the animal hospital at about 3 a.m. She said she didn’t question Steele’s story that a car hit the cat because her only concern was the cat’s welfare. It was bleeding from all paws. Steele was extremely drunk, she said.
The cat remained alive as of Monday afternoon at a Marathon animal hospital, but its paws were severely injured. During the investigation, police followed a blood trail that measured six blocks.
Steele was found at his home on Father Tony Way. He denied he was the man in the scooter video and said his cat was struck by a car. He appeared intoxicated, deputies said.
A veterinarian told police the cat did not appear to have been hit by a car, but it did look like it had been dragged.
“I was disgusted by this case and made it my top priority this morning,” said Monroe Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “I want to thank our alert residents and the deputies who worked together to make an arrest in this case just hours after this incident was posted on social media. Such behavior will never be tolerated by the residents of the Florida Keys nor by me.”