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Dog Lands Former S.C. First Lady in Court

Jenny Sanford in court to deal with roaming dog.

Jenny Sanford's divorce from former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford was settled in court more than two years ago, but now it's another male in her household that's causing her legal headaches.

UPDATE: A Municipal Court Judge lowered the fine against Sanford Tuesday evening. She pleaded guilty and paid the $150 fine. Read the full update.

South Carolina's former first lady heads to court today on Sullivan's Island to dispute a $1,040 fine for allowing her dog, Julius, to roam free.

Jenny Sanford doesn't dispute whether her 8-year-old labrador is guilty, but she does question the amount of the fine.

"He is guilty. The dog wandered, and I know it is against the rules. I'm not knocking the police." Sanford told the Post and Courier. "But isn't this being a bit over the top?"

Turns out, Sanford has faced problems with roaming dogs before.

Police say the Sanford home, a 4,000-square-foot beachfront property, has been the source of other dog-roaming incidents, and that's why the former first lady faces such a high penalty. She has previously paid a $500 fine for dog roaming.

Sanford said she stepped away from home for a yoga class and immediately knew the dog had run off when she returned home.

"He always waits for me right on the lawn, so I knew immediately that he was gone," she told WISTV. "I found him at the police station shortly thereafter."

Police say roaming animals are a nuisance, and the fines are necessary.

"We deal with some type of animal every day. Dogs on the street, or off the beach, or anywhere else on the island, have to be leashed at all times," Chief of Police Danny Howard told WISTV.

Sanford could have her fine lowered at a Tuesday evening court appearance, if the municipal judge finds cause, the TV station reports.

Sanford filed for divorce from her husband, Mark, in 2009 after the former Republican Governor admitted to a week-long tryst with a woman in Argentina. Still governor at the time, his staff couldn't reach him and no one knew his whereabouts.

Once a political star with presidential prospects, Mark Sanford was censured by the South Carolina House of Representatives for meeting with his mistress on an earlier trip paid for with public money.

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