heartless Melbourne, Florida, wheelchair-bound cats must wear a leash -- no exceptions.
Cat owner Yvonne Steel learned that the hard way when she got ticketed for failing to put her disabled cat, Pooh Bear, out on a leash. To be fair, Steel reportedly failed to heed plenty of warnings. But c'mon, the cat's name is Pooh Bear, for goodness sake!
Anyway, Steel and Pooh Bear fought the law and the law won.
Pooh Bear: Born Free Wheelin'
Pooh Bear's front legs work great, but his hind legs gave out. Some call him wheelchair-bound; I call him Robocat.
Steel takes Pooh Bear out to a nearby park everyday to exercise his furry hind legs, according to Orlando's WESH-TV.
After giving Steel several warnings, the evil Brevard County Animal Services came along and issued Steel $230 in tickets for failing to have Pooh Bear and McKenzie, a Chihuahua, on a leash, and for a rabies shot violation.
As far as Animal Services should've been concerned, the only crime Steel committed was not naming the Chihuahua "Piglet." 'Cause how adorable would that have been?
Most people think leash laws only apply to canines -- which is wrong!
Think of it like "animal equal protection" (not really). From biting people and triggering allergies, to attacking other adorable animals and damaging property, and even to causing car accidents, leash laws are about safety.
It's also about stemming the tide of stray animals -- such as feral cats, which can be violent. After all, free-roaming (free-wheeling...) cats and dogs are the primary cause of pet overpopulation, according to the Florida Animal Control Association.
Leash laws exist to help keep people in control of their animals when in public. Cats -- including Robocats -- are animals, too.
Sure, Pooh Bear probably wasn't even capable of wheeling around in a menacing way, but it's still the law.
And not getting a rabies shot for animals wandering around outside? That's cray cray and also totally against Florida law, which requires rabies vaccinations of dogs, cats, and ferrets.
As easy (and kind of fun) as it is to paint Animal Services in a horrible light as a villainous institution à la Cruella De Vil, in this case they had a point. Sorry, Pooh Bear.
- A wheelchair-using cat must be leashed, ticketed woman learns (ABA Journal)
- What Can I Do if My Neighbor's Animals are Creating a Problem? (FindLaw)
- Herding Cats: One Vermont Town is Going to Try (FindLaw's Legal Grounds)
- Cop Shoots and Kills 'Attacking' Miniature Dachshund (FindLaw's Legal Grounds)