Dogs, debris and Satan make their mark at
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[July 12, 2014]
By Heide Brandes
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - As part of her
grand plan to visit all 50 U.S. state capitols before her 70th birthday,
Deidra Horan drove to Oklahoma City a few weeks ago. She toured the
capitol, but that's not her most vivid memory of the trip.
Horan, 64, was attacked by four large stray dogs shortly after she
left the building, and was badly bitten.
It was the latest in a series of headaches for statehouse officials
that have included tumbling plaster inside the building and a battle
over a monument to Satan outside the 97-year-old neoclassical
Horan, a dealer in antique postcards from Colorado, suffered a deep
bite on her buttock and has rung up about $22,000 in rabies shots
and other medical bills.
“It was the most horrible experience in my life,” she said. “It has
been a historical journey, but the visit to Oklahoma has not been
She is the second woman to have been attacked outside the capitol by
marauding pit-bull-mix dogs in recent weeks. Other visitors have
been chased through the grounds, narrowly escaping attack.
Vicious hounds aren't the only problems dogging the capitol. In May,
members of the House media office arrived to find a chunk of plaster
had fallen from the ceiling in their basement office.
Before that, the basement flooded after a drain gave way. And since
2011, scaffolding has covered the southeast entrance to help protect
passersby from falling limestone.
Governor Mary Fallin, a Republican, last month approved a measure
authorizing a $120 million bond issue to pay for repairs. The
building's condition, she said, is "a black eye for the entire
While the state intends to fix the building, some interest groups
have plans they say will spruce up the grounds.
The Satanic Temple in New York has applied to put up a satanic
statue on the statehouse lawn, making the same arguments that
allowed lawmakers to approve the installation in 2012 of a Ten
Commandments monument on the grounds.
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Other groups have jumped on the bandwagon, and there are now bids to
erect a Hindu monkey god and a monument to the satirical church of
The Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The state has placed a moratorium on issuing permits for any other
"There will never be a satanic monument on the grounds of the
Oklahoma state capitol, and the suggestion that there might be is
absurd," said Alex Weintz, a spokesman for Governor Fallin.
Meanwhile, dogcatchers dispatched to the area have captured five
"We think we got them all, but the dog situation in Oklahoma City is
dynamic," Trace Lyons, field supervisor for Oklahoma City’s Animal
Welfare Division, said this week.
"We still have five traps at the capitol that we check regularly."
(Writing by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jill Serjeant and Douglas
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