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82-year-old Alabama woman arrested for unpaid trash bills

Authorities in Valley, Alabama, have arrested an 82-year-old woman for failing to pay several months' worth of trash bills. 

Martha Louis Menefield was arrested and released on bond Nov. 27, Valley Police Chief Mike Reynolds said in a statement posted to Facebook Tuesday. 

In August, Menefield had been issued a citation for nonpayment of trash services for the months of June, July and August, police said. Before issuing the citation, city code enforcement staff had unsuccessfully tried to contact her via phone and in person. 

The citation informed Menefield about a Sept. 7 court date, police said, and when she did not appear for the hearing, a warrant was issued. 

According to the city's environmental services department, Menefield has a long history of issues with trash services. Police said she had her trash service suspended three times in the past two years for nonpayment. Records indicate that, since 2006, there have been over 22 incidents of suspensions or cancellation of trash services, police added. 

Reynolds defended the arrest, which drew criticism on the city's Facebook page, with several people commenting that it was "shameful."

"While our officers can use their discretionary judgment on certain matters, the enforcement of an arrest warrant issued by the court and signed by a magistrate, is not one of them," Reynolds wrote. "Ms. Menefield was treated respectfully by our officers in the performance of their duties and was released on a bond as prescribed by the violation."

The city of Valley is located in east central Alabama on border with Georgia. 

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