The dog breed that played Toto in "The Wizard of Oz" might become a state symbol. State Rep. Ed Trimmer has introduced a bill (H.B. 2513) that would designate the Cairn Terrier as the official state dog of Kansas.
Brenda Moore of Augusta, who works with the South Central Kansas Kennel Club, is pushing the idea. She says the breed was chosen because of its role in the movie, to avoid any conflicts with owners of other dog breeds.
Not everyone supports the idea. The animal rights group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is against it.
"If passed, HB 2513 would worsen one of Kansas' serious problems: its reputation as a hotbed for cruel, filthy puppy mills. Naming the Cairn Terrier—or any breed—Kansas' state dog would drive up demand for these dogs and entice puppy mills to churn out litter after litter of the breed, meaning fewer dogs would be adopted from your state's animal shelters," said Martin Mersereau, director of the Cruelty Investigation Iepartment for PETA.
Mersereau sent a letter to Trimmer on behalf of PETA, asking him to withdraw the bill.
"When Kansans rush out to buy Cairn terriers, countless lovable, friendly, healthy dogs who are sitting in animal shelters across your state waiting to be adopted will miss out on their chance for a home—and will end up dead," said Mersereau.
Rep. Trimmer told The Wichita Eagle that he knows the state faces serious issues and he hopes the Legislature does not spend a lot of time on the proposal. But he says he introduced it because his constituents thought it was important.