Wednesday, June 4, 2008
The Carmelite Sisters of Saint Therese moved to Oklahoma City in 1926. In 1933, the Sisters opened up one school in Midtown and another school in 1960, which is located on the south side. In 2005, a pit bull breeder built a kennel on adjacent property to the south facility, Villa Teresa Moore School, which services children ages 3-5.
Taylor Made Terriers is operated by Kenneth Gonzales, holds 42 pit bulls and is located 1,800 feet away. Governor Brad Henry has until the end of the week to act on legislation that would prohibit unlicensed kennels from operating this closely to a daycare facility in towns with populations greater than 300,000, which only includes Oklahoma City and Tulsa.
06/01/08: 90 Children at Risk of Neighboring Pit Bull Kennel
Oklahoma City, OK - Catholic nuns who operate a preschool recently urged the governor to sign a bill that they think would stop a kennel with pit bulls from operating next door. Sister Veronica Higgins said the pit bulls are being housed on property adjacent to Villa Teresa Moore preschool in Oklahoma City, which has over 90 children, while the status of its permits with the city are in litigation.
Governor Brad Henry must act immediately. Failure to do so may come at a high political price, not to mention a moral one.CONTACT the Governor: If you are a citizen of Oklahoma, DogsBite.org urges you to contact Governor Brad Henry and ask that he immediately sign Senate Bill 1754. According to attorney Kevin Calvey, a former state lawmaker who is representing the preschool, if the governor signs the bill, the school can seek an injunction to stop the kennel from operating. He said the new law would also stiffen possible criminal penalties against kennel owners.
Senate Bill 1754 would prohibit a kennel from operating within 2,500 feet of a public or private school or a day-care facility. The restriction is limited to cities with more than 300,000 population, which means it would apply only to Tulsa and Oklahoma City. When the kennel started operating three years ago, Sister Veronica said she learned that there were 42 pit bulls on the property. Since then, the city has granted a variance allowing the kennel to have 25 dogs.
The sisters say that they were never informed when the city hearing was held granting the variance. The school and the kennel operator, Kenneth Gonzales have been fighting over the dog issue since 2006. There have been no incidents, Sister Higgins said, but teachers and parents are worried that something could happen. "I am concerned for my children," said Tammy Cavender, whose daughters attend Villa Teresa.
It is basic common sense to sign this bill into law.After the city granted Gonzales a variance, the sisters and other neighbors filed a lawsuit that is currently on appeal to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. There is reason to believe that the high court might hear the appeal. In the meanwhile, the Catholic sisters, who seem to be the only people concerned about the lives of these children outside their parents, are waiting for the governor to take action. Only a mere 90 child lives are at stake.
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| 6/02/2008 5:51 AM |
Interesting comment from a nearby neighbor:
I live next to the school and kennel here in OKC. I'm Baptist. I owned a Rottweiler here for almost 15 years (he was neutered--(kennel breeding dogs are not.) This kennel has been operating for over 3 years WITHOUT a kennel license. The dogs have escaped 4 times ... one instance the neighbor considered an attack. (This is public record submitted to OKC.)
---We were told by the SPCA that this kennel has 2 AKC registered dogs. One competes in weight pulling competitions...he can pull 712 pounds....some show dog!---No amount of insurance will cover the tragedy of a dog attack...how ddoes insurance enter into this legislative question? (By the way-I don't believe this kennel is insured...it is not licensed.) ---- SB1754 is NOT about the breed of dogs. ---SB1754 is NOT about this one kennel. --SB1754 is meant to keep 25+ dogs away from schools and children. I have first hand experience with the SMELL...FLIES...MOSQUITOES...OTHER INSECTS...NOISE...caused by this large number of dogs. ANY BREED of dogs!!! --- SB1754 will eliminate the health concerns of disease transmitted by flies from the dog kennels. It will not preclude any legitimate kennel operator from doing business in a safe and secure location. Sounds like a WIN-WIN situation to me!
| 6/03/2008 5:26 PM |
I live in Wabash, IN. Next door to our Catholic School there are four pit bulls, two adults and two that are about six to seven months old. This is right next to the parking lot and play ground. One of the neighbors has had the dogs in his yard several times. Very bad and very dangerous.
| 6/04/2008 2:14 PM |
I can see it now...pit bulls maul small children and nuns, after the sisters begged authorities to protect them from the low-life pit bull breeder, who is at best running a puppy mill, at worst breeding dogs for dogfighting.
Now that would be political suicide, IMO. That would possibly make national headlines.....lowlife pit bull breeder, and callous politicians deliberately put children and nuns in danger.....if a child is mauled, I think a good lawyer could argue that the city was liable.
| 6/05/2008 9:52 AM |
Find out the name of the "kennel", and, if possible, the names of the "registered" dogs. AADR is well known as a registery for dog fighters. If you google some of the dogs registered names, and the kennel name, you will often find they appear on dogfighting websites. This information could be helpful to neighbors trying to argue that this man is breeding dogs for illegal purposes, even if there is no evidence that he himself is fighting the dogs, he may be breeding fighting bloodlines.
| 6/14/2008 6:39 PM |
Just as an update - now the dog owner in Oklahoma is suing the city and the state for putting in place an 'unconstitutional' law - one that protects children in public and private schools and daycares from having dog kennels 2500 feet from schools. This stops enforcement which continues to allow an eminent danger to those children.
| 11/22/2008 9:53 PM |
The story goes on... after hearings in the county which the school is located, the judge there ruled in favor of the children -issued a temporary and a permanent injunction - but the Oklahoma County judge has refused to even consider the implications of 25 pit bulls next to a school - says the new law is unconstitutional - and seeks to influence the city council to not appeal her decision. Rationale - too crazy to imagine.