School Serving Oklahoma City Since 1933
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.