Nuns Continue to Plead for Pit Bull Kennel Closure

Tuesday, December 2nd 2008, 7:36 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A victory is being celebrated for nuns fighting a pit bull kennel near their school for young children. This is the latest chapter in a two year battle.

The nuns are now praising Oklahoma City Council members.

Their fight has gone before several judges, and now the city council. The nuns said they're now one step closer to their goal, to shut the kennel down.

All day kids fill the rooms of Villa Theresa Moore and the yard outside.

"That is just a terrible thought to have that possibility looming over these children," Patricia Ann Miller with Villa Teresa Moore said.

The nuns worry that a dog from a nearby pit bull kennel will run out and attack a child.

"I hate to say I want anyone to shut down, but I would really like for him to move elsewhere," Veronica Higgins with Villa Teresa Principal said.

Under state law the kennel should close. The nuns pushed for that law which bans dog kennels within 2,500 feet of a school in a city with the population over 300,000. Instead of forcing it to shut down the law is tied up in a legal battle.

"It's time not to wait until an incident happens; it's time that our government protect our children," Higgins said.

Tuesday, the nuns went before city council, asking them to appeal the most recent court ruling. A judge in Oklahoma County ruled the kennel law is unconstitutional. But a judge in Cleveland County ruled previously, it is constitutional.

The council voted to appeal the Oklahoma County case and let a higher court decide. The nuns consider that a victory.

"It's been a long journey," Higgins said. "I know the journey's still going on, but at least one more step toward completion."

The kennel owner's lawyer said he's disappointed. He argues the law targets his client, making it unconstitutional.

"He has been targeted because there's no other kennel in the state of Oklahoma that has had this problem," the kennel owner's lawyer, Mickey Homsey, said.

The court will have the final say, and the nuns plan to fight until the end.

"If we don't and something happens, then how would I live with myself?" Miller said. "How would I be able to justify that?"

The pit bull kennel will stay up and running until the appeals process is complete.

Both sides said they believe the appeals court will rule in their favor.