Messy Yard Brings Jail Time for SC Woman, Then Help

A financially struggling South Carolina woman served six days in jail for having a cluttered yard, then returned to her home Thursday to find several volunteers working to help bring her property up to code and some offering to help save her house from foreclosure.

Linda Ruggles, 53, of Mount Pleasant, was released from Charleston County jail not knowing what she would do about the "clean lot violation" that put her behind bars and, The Post and Courier newspaper reports, still needing funds to avoid foreclosure on her home of 15 years.

The photographer had sold her blood and even volunteered for medical experiments to get money to keep her home, the newspaper said, but ended up in jail after being unable to pay the $480 that she was fined. Ruggles' photography business fell victim to the recession and she incurred the fine in December after neighbors complained about her yard. The clutter on her property includes shingles that she was about to use to fix her home's roof, when the economy collapsed, and scrap metal that she collected to sell.

After the story of her sentence appeared in the media, several people called the newspaper offering help, including landscapers who started working on the property Thursday and a contractor who said that he would repair her roof for free. Others reportedly are looking to help her financially.

"I'm really overwhelmed," Ruggles told the newspaper. "I'm so thankful and appreciative people want to help."

The town has said that it had made efforts for a year to work with Ruggles to avoid jail, including an offer by Mount Pleasant's police chief to find youths to help clear the property.

Ruggles continues to hold a part-time job at a supermarket, where she has returned to work.