TENNESSEE (WITI) — A Tennessee woman is jailed…for not cleaning up her yard! The city is defending its decision to lock her up.
“I’m a mom. I don’t want to leave my kids. I want to be there with them every night and I have been for 25 years and last night I wasn’t and that really bothers me,” Karen Holloway said.
Holloway spent six hours in jail after she was cited for failure to maintain property.
“I’m embarrassed the place I pay taxes for is taking time to incarcerate me when there are other real criminals in this town,” Holloway said.
Holloway says family struggles have kept her away from the property her family owns. They bought the home in 2000 with plans to renovate it, but they currently live in an apartment. Holloway says she feels the home’s location makes them a target for code enforcement.
“I don’t agree with that at all,” Public Safety Director Don White said.
White says they work with property owners across the city — not just where it’s convenient.
“Obviously Broadway is a focal point of the city that traffic in the city travels down on a daily basis. I can show you problem properties all over the city where we’ve had to take action,” White said.
White says she can’t recall anyone being jailed for not taking care of their yard, but he says the issue isn’t that simple.
“In this particular case, this has been going on for 12 or 13 years. The Holloways have been cited in the court a number of times,” White said.
White provided photos that show the property in 2013 and 2014, and those photos show a property that’s virtually unchanged.
“It’s just not fair to the other residents and we’re trying to make the city better across the board. We want it to be clean. We want it to be attractive. We want other people to move here,” White said.
City inspectors say overgrown properties pose a safety hazard for kids who might sneak in and get hurt.
“If there’s rotted floors and the house hasn’t been maintained and there’s leaking roofs and electrical problems and if the house is so overgrown someone breaks a window and no one knows,” White said.
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