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Woman Jailed for Not Paying Messy Yard Fine
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Linda Ruggles, a Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, resident has been sentenced to 10 days in jail for failing to pay a $480 fine for having a messy yard. Ruggles came home a couple days early and found support from strangers living in her community.

Ruggles was running a photography business until the recession put it in the tank. She was fined back in 2010 after neighbors complained about debris sitting in her yard outside of her home.


The problems for Ruggles began back in 2008 when she had plans to repair her home but those plans were put on hold because of the tanking economy. For three years, unopened boxes of shingles have been sitting on her roof. Ruggles also has piles of scrap metal and other items sitting in her driveway in hopes to sell them so she can pay her bills.

In December of 2010, Ruggles was cited for a ‘clean lot violation’ after neighbors complained, stating that the mess in her yard was lowering the property values of their homes.

Ruggles was ordered by a municipal judge to pay the fine or face 10 days in jail. Authorities claim that Ruggles did not pay the fine within the mandatory 90 day period and then ignored court appearances and warnings issued by the town. Ruggles was arrested on January 5 after one year of trying to rectify the situation.

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“We went well beyond what we were required to do,” Police Chief Harry Sewell said. “We really did take a compassionate approach.”

Police were told by Ruggles that she could not afford to pay the fine because she was using all of her money to prevent her home from entering into foreclosure. It has also been reported that Ruggles has volunteered for medical experiments and sold her blood in an effort to keep her home.

Police decided to shave a couple of days off of her jail sentence, which lasted only six of the ten days. Upon her return home, Ruggles found that her messy yard was still a mess but she found out that quite a few of her problems would be fixed very soon.

Ruggles said that a contractor offered to shingle her leaky rook while a realty group offered to help with other repairs to the home. All of these offers come with a zero dollar pay tag..

Ruggles also said that she was happy to learn she was not fired from her job at a local supermarket while spending time in jail.

“I’m really overwhelmed. I’m so thankful and appreciative people want to help.”


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