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81-year-old woman jailed for first time over dogs

BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF/WKRC) -- An 81-year-old Harford County, Maryland woman was arrested after neighbors complained she let her dogs run free outside the yard and off-leash.

Mary Magdalene Root cares for more than 13 dogs inside her home. She says she let the dogs out into the one and a half acre yard without knowing the gate had been left open.

The incident happened last spring. Root was charged for not having licenses on all of her dogs and not having her runaway pets on a leash after neighbors complained. When Root missed her first court appearance over the misdemeanor a bench warrant was issued.

"When I knew I had a bench warrant out for me and she would not accept my two letters of documentation from the doctor I guess I went into an attack," Root said. "I practically fell over in the kitchen and I had to get an ambulance and take me out."

Last Wednesday deputies picked her up and brought her to jail.

"I went back to the...cot...and I grabbed this bible and just cried and cried," Root told FOX45. The woman had no prior convictions but the judge ordered that she be held in lieu of a $2,500 bail. She says a stranger bailed her out and she was released Thursday morning.

Root and her 13 dogs have now moved into a small apartment in Charlestown with her daughter Vantina.

"She's been raped of her dignity," Vantina told FOX45. "She's been raped of what she knows (sic) her entire life and all she did was open up her door to let her dogs out to use the bathroom in a normal manner not thinking the gate was open cause she doesn't leave it open."

Root goes back to court on April 9.

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