Dispute over dogs has 90-year-old woman facing jail time

Posted at 10:45 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-24 08:54:19-04

A 90-year-old woman is facing possible jail time because her neighbor doesn't like her dogs. Too much barking has led to a court battle with the credibility of the complaint in question.

Dolly Dentz had her 90th birthday party on Valentine’s Day this year. The two loves in her life are furry little terriers named Fluffy and Boots.

“They fill my life with love; somebody for me to take care of,” said Dentz.

But these days she’s all but lost the little pups. They spend most of their time at her son’s house because of all the trouble she’s had with her neighbor complaining about barking.

“I'm heartbroken. It's almost like they're taking my children away from me,” said Dentz.

Last year, Dolly's next door neighbor filed a barking dog complaint with the City of Phoenix. The city told ABC15 it served dolly a court summons where she found out she's being charged with a misdemeanor. She could end up with a maximum sentence of six months in jail. Other possibilities are fines and probation.

The city offered mediation. Dolly said she agreed to put bark collars on the dogs and keep them inside certain times of day, but couldn't reach a deal with the neighbor.

“He still wanted mom to pled guilty to a criminal charge,” said Bob Dentz, who gave his mom the dogs as a gift nearly two years ago.

“I'm not going to plead guilty to something,” said Dolly Dentz. “They don't bark. They’re really not barking dogs.” 

Bob Dentz thinks the neighbor is mad at the wrong pet owner. The complaint filed with the city lists a third barking dog, which obviously doesn’t belong to Dentz.

According to Phoenix officials, anybody can file a barking dog complaint on their neighbor by simply keeping a log of the perceived problem. Video evidence or a police officer hearing the barking dog isn’t required.      

In the eyes of the law, the neighbor is a victim. But Bob Dentz said that law is being abused to victimize his mom.

“Everything is based on what [the neighbor] said and what he wrote down by hand. He doesn't have any recordings. He could write whatever he wants,” said Dentz. 

ABC15 did contact the neighbor who politely declined an interview. He told ABC15 that he wanted to let the issue play out in court. 

Dentz is due back in court on June 16th.