It breaks your heart to see kids struggling to live normal lives when their bodies prevent them. Almost nothing is worse, except when government steps in to compound the hardship with rules and regulations that lack common sense.

In the case of one ten-year-old, the city of Santa Fe Springs is demanding that her family dismantle a backyard playground that the Make-A-Wish Foundation erected for her because her condition precludes her from going to a city park. She suffers from severe seizures.

The city claims it’s worried about the clutter in the backyard and has issued tickets calling on the family to remove everything from the front and backyards.

Public health and safety may be legitimate concerns for the city, but from images captured by local news crews, the backyard playground is not a hoarder’s paradise and it’s also on private property. So the real question is: Why is the city picking on this little girl and her family? 

CBS Los Angeles reports:

Jessica and her husband, Felix, said they can’t believe the city is telling them they have to take down the playground because it’s allegedly a public nuisance.

“When I asked the city, ‘So where do you expect my daughter to play?’ they said ‘Well, the city’s not responsible for your daughter’s disability,'” Torres said. “They said ‘Your Tiffany is not our problem.'”

The city manager said he’s concerned for the health and safety of the family because of clutter around the play area.

But Torres, who’s an oncology charge nurse at Beverly Hospital in Montebello, showed CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Adrianna Weingold the backyard, front yard and the inside of the family’s home and things looked relatively neat and tidy.

Torres showed Weingold some of the tickets the city’s issued, calling on the family to remove all items from the backyard and front yard, including all playground equipment.

The city is backtracking now and claiming that they aren’t asking for the playground to be removed, but for the area to be cleaned up. Nice try.

We need more parents to stand up and bring cases like this to media and the press –shining the light on government-sponsored injustice.

There’s a larger concern demonstrated here. Too often bureaucrats think they can meddle with the personal lives and property of regular, law-abiding Americans. The discretion they have to arbitrarily enforce rules on some and not others permits abuse like this to occur.

The role of government in our day-to-day lives should be minimal. Of all of the ways taxpayer dollars should be spent, harassing a special needs kid who just wants to play outside in her own yard  seems like the worst use of our resources. However, when we cede government so much control and discretion, the opportunity for abuse is broad.