SULLIVANS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — For former South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford, the dog gone case is over.
A town judge in this sea island community fined Sanford just $150 on Tuesday after her black lab Julius made a break for freedom from her beachfront home back in February. Sanford was originally handled a ticket for $1,040. But she said that was too high and didn't fit the offense.
Sanford is the ex-wife of former Gov. Mark Sanford. He famously left word in 2009 that he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail when he was in fact in Argentina seeing his mistress. Jenny Sanford later filed for divorce.
On Tuesday, Jenny Sanford went to the town court in Sullivans Island, northeast of Charleston, to argue the case of Julius. Sanford said the 8-year-old canine had indeed escaped and she pleaded guilty. But she told the judge that Julius had never run off before.
Julius was spotted Feb. 22 roaming about the Sands Dunes Club, a beachfront building used for special events, gatherings and receptions where the TV series Army Wives was filmed. The club is next to the Sanford home. The dog also was seen in town before being returned to her home
Municipal Judge Larry Duffy said he had never fined an owner $1,000 for an escaped pet and agreed to a sharply reduced fine. Town officials had said the fine was high because there had been a dog escape from the home before.
Two year ago Sanford faced a similar charge when a pet lab named Jeep escaped. That time the fine was $90.
As for Julius, Sanford said the lab escaped when she went to a yoga class. Her home has an electronic fence buried in the ground meant to keep her pets on her property. But she said the fence was broken when the dog got away.
The sea island community has hours where dogs can run free on the beach with their owners. But dogs are not allowed to run free on the streets and property on the island.