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The Dirt

Punished for pruning

Photo/Illustration: JWB
Photo/Illustration: JWB

Thinning a thicket is illegal?

Yes, according to a Dallas Morning News post on Tuesday:

Who: 67-year-old Sandra McFeely

What: Arrested for pruning briars and branches out of a greenbelt near her home. She was asked by neighbors and authorities to stop prior to the arrest but she ignored their requests and continued (as she has for the last three years) to pursue her convictions to clean up the park.

Where: Oak Cliff in Dallas, Texas

When: Arrested March 15th, 2010

Why: Sandra McFeely uses her hand pruners to maintain and manicure the park when she is out walking her dogs. Neighbors and authorities claim her efforts disturb, damage and deface the natural habitat.

How much damage can a little 5-foot, 100-pound woman do with hand pruners? Enough to warrant a ten thousand dollar fine and up to two years in jail?

Choose your side:

Are you part of the picket posse? Post: Protect the Greenbelt…keep it wild… it’s the law!


Are you a part of the brigade against the briar jungle? Post: Grab a pair of pruners and tame the thicket.

Unsanctioned pruning at Oak Cliff park drew complaints, but 67-year-old’s arrest makes neighbors uneasy

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  1. ThankGod4Gardening 04/23/2010

    Cute article...but it’s time to get on my soapbox, it was refreshingly good to see that they didn't let the fact that she was a cute little old lady deter the fact that she was asked to stop and refused to...it was noted that she had been honored by the Neighborhood Association for her prior cleanup work in the area so, let's face it, if she was a little less stubborn and more respectful of the fact that there has to be rules to protect the parks, she would have simply become a park volunteer or gotten the proper permission in some way...picking up trash is one thing, but we all know how detrimental improper pruning can be when left up to anyone with a pair of pruners, and despite she was trying to 'help' there are proper ways to go about it. This woman was smart enough to currently be an attorney and so she definately understands the need for rules, but chose to be defiant...it only made headlines because they could play the little old lady victim card...if it would have been a kid doing the exact same thing the spin would have been to how bad they were and the bush would have been the victom. I believe the real point of this story was missed. We all need to be willing to be held accountable for our choices and she chose not to stop when told to. A lesson that all should learn when we are young, but unfortunately, some of us get by with being a little slow in that department, putting the lesson off until we're 67. They should have entitled the article "Lesson Learned" - she chose to learn it the hard way.

  2. Jenn87 05/17/2010

    The article does state that she wants guidelines. She said at the end she wants to know specifically what she can & cannot do but they had never given her clear answers.

    Still, it's ridiculous & childish to argue over something so trivial. There are many much bigger problems & the people fighting her have too much free time on their hands. Any damage she may have done was very small compared to the good of keeping the area clean. Even wild ares need to be maintained to prevent plant diseases from spreading & reduce fire hazards.

    It looks like a difference in opinion more than anything else & our laws shouldn't be based on opinions.

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