Yvonne Steel, the owner of wheelchair-bound cat Pooh Bear, was fined $230 on October 8, when animal control officers in Melbourne (Brevard County, Florida) spotted her out for a walk with the cat, who cannot move his back legs, and a Chihuahua, named McKenzie.
Pooh Bear is outfitted with a device Steel says she got on e-Bay, which provides the handicapped cat with what she calls a "wheel chair."
Steel straps the device around the cat's midsection and it allows him to walk, so she brings him and the Chihuahua to a grassy outside area for much-needed exercise, she says.
Steel was issued the fines for failing to have Pooh Bear and McKenzie on a leash and for a rabies-shot violation.
WESH 2 News reports that officials with Brevard County Animal Services say they have issued prior verbal warnings to Steel that walking able-bodied or handicapped animals without a leash is illegal if it's not on a resident's own property and that animals must be under the control of the owners at all times for the animals’ safety. Steel says she was not aware the law applied to her cat.
Steel believes there are much more serious crimes that better use law-enforcement resources than a cat and a Chihuahua out for a walk. "The fact there's so much crime here, they should have been looking into pedophiles, people with knives," she said.
Police said they have a video recording of Steel walking her other dogs, German shepherds, without leashes.