Judging by the cost of the ticket and the inflexible attitude of the police officer issuing it, you'd think Piedmont, Okla. had a huge problem with toddlers running all over the place urinating on anything and everything in their paths.
Only, it doesn't. In fact, the incident is so isolated - and the case so ridiculous and bizarre - not only does it boggle the mind, but it defies logic and reason at every level.
Here are the details.
The parents of three-year-old Dillan Warden are in the process of trying to potty train the little tyke. Any parent who has taken on this task knows this is a time-consuming, arduous process that involves teaching the toddler how to recognize when he needs to relieve himself and what to do when that time comes.
That feeling of recognition, so to speak, came for little Dillon as he was playing in his own front yard recently. With no bathroom nearby, he did what he has been taught to do - he pulled down his pants and prepared to relieve himself.
Expensive bathroom break
But before he could actually relieve himself, the long arm of the law intervened. Thank goodness; a crime spree stopped dead in its tracks.
Still, just the toddler's attempt was enough to earn the ire of the cop and his mother a $2,500 ticket.
"Dillan pulled down his pants to pee outside, I guess, and the cop pulled up and asked for my license and told me he was going to give me a ticket for public urination," the boy's mother, Ashley Warden, said.
"I said really, he is 3 years old, and he said it doesn't matter," said Dillan's grandmother, Jennifer Warden. "[He said] It is public urination. I said we are on our property and he said it's in public view."
Local news media covering this horrific crime story reported that the family lives on a two-and-a-half acre plot of land, adding that the "street is actually quite rural" in nature.
But the Wardens say the officer, Ken Qualls, who "caught" little Dillan trying to relieve himself parks at the end of their street every day. Not surprisingly, they asked why he does that.
"It's a public street and he wants to, so he can," Jennifer Warden said.
Apparently, this officer's crack police training led him to conclude that, someday, little Dillan would commit the crime of public urination, and he'd be there to stop it, while earning the city a nice tidy fine.
It makes you wonder what other real crimes are going unnoticed - and unpunished - if this is what Piedmont Police officers do with their time on the job.
After getting the ticket, the Wardens filed a complaint with the police department. But the department, local media said, "didn't accept the Wardens' complaint" (we here at Natural News aren't quite sure how a police department doesn't accept a complaint, but we digress).
Either way, now the Wardens have a court date set up for December.
Going to court?
"I am disappointed that the officer thinks... what he needs to do with my tax dollars is sitting and harassing our family," Jennifer Warden said.
It's a legitimate question but one the department doesn't seem amenable to answering.
But hey, at least the officer was polite. Jennifer Warden said he was good enough to write down the cost of the ticket, "as a courtesy," local media said.
Ashley Warden says she's going to fight the ticket - not just because it is outrageous on its face, but because her son did not actually commit the act she was cited for.
Local reports said when the case gets to court, the judge has the authority to just throw it out. Let's hope there is some sanity left in the local court system.
Update: The latest word is that Qualls amended his complaint to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The department has admitted the incident could have been handled better. No word on a court date.