HARFORD COUNTY, Md. - An 81-year-old great-grandmother spent two nights in a Maryland detention center for a minor pet violation committed nearly a year ago, reports CBS Baltimore.
In May 2013, Mary Magdalene Root says her small dogs - who are her constant companions - somehow got loose from her yard several times. A neighbor took pictures of the dogs running down the street and reported her to Animal Control.
The agency slapped Root, of Harford County, with a $7,000 fine.
"I'm struggling to pay my house taxes. I couldn't pay it. It's a different thing when you leave your dogs out and you don't care. But I do care," Root told CBS Baltimore.
When Root, a cancer survivor, failed to show up at court - on her doctor's orders -- a judge had her arrested.
She was booked, fingerprinted and issued a striped jumpsuit.
Root's defense attorneys asked the judge to let the senior citizen go. She had no previous criminal history and she was in failing health. The judge said no. Instead, he ordered her to pay a $2,500 bail and said that if she were able to pay it and get out, she still would not be allowed to bring animals back on her property.
On Root's second night in jail, a Good Samaritan bailed her out, according to the station.
But now, Root can't return back to her home of 44 years. Under the judge's orders, the dogs aren't allowed until her case is decided, reports the station. Root says that no matter what, she can't give her dogs up.
"I love them," she said. "I was planning on coming down on the dogs. But my dogs, they keep me company and I love them."
Root says she's had an outpouring of support from people in the community. In fact, there's a petition asking lawmakers to make cases like this a little more lenient for senior citizens.