Like many pet owners, 90-year-old Dolly Dentz treats her dogs like her children.
Fluffy and Boots were given to Dentz as a gift from her son two years ago. The small white terriers are her best friends. She told ABC15:
"They fill my life with love; somebody for me to take care of."
Normally, Dentz lives at home with her two pups for company. But a recent controversy with her neighbor means the dogs now spend most of their time at her son's house. It also means the 90-year-old is being threatened with jail time.
Dentz was served a court summons last year when her next door neighbor filed a barking dog complaint with the City of Phoenix. Dentz was surprised, saying her dogs bark a "normal" amount when someone comes to the door, but she agreed to the city's mitigating terms. She put bark collars on Fluffy and Boots and kept them inside during specified hours of the day. Despite her efforts, she couldn't come to terms with the disgruntled neighbor.
The neighbor wants Dentz to plead guilty, but the elderly dog owner has refused. She said;
"I'm not going to plead guilty to something. They don't bark. They're really not barking dogs."
The impasse means Dentz is now being charged with a misdemeanor--the crime classification also used for assault and drunk driving. Sentencing possibilities range from fines and probation to six months in jail.
She would also lose her dogs.
Dentz will have a chance to defend herself in court, but the validity of the neighbor's claim is already being questioned.
According to Phoenix's legislature, everyone has the right to file a barking dog claim. They don't need audio or video proof or backup statements from other neighbors. All they need to do is write down their claim stating at what times the dog barked. In this case, the neighbor wrote down the names of Dentz's dogs, but he also included a third dog that obviously doesn't belong to Dentz.
Bob Dentz, her son, thinks the situation can be explained by a case of mistaken canine identity. Dentz is scheduled to return to court on June 16.
What do you think of this case? Let us know in the comments.
WATCH NOW: Mall in Turkey Opens Its Doors to Freezing Street Dogs