Kansas Lawmaker Wants to Make ‘Toto’ Official State Dog

Jan 30, 2012 2:55pm
gty toto dm 120130 wblog Kansas Lawmaker Wants to Make Toto Official State Dog

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“Toto, I have a feeling we’re in Kansas anymore,” quipped a young Judy Garland as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” when she found herself transported to Munchkinland with her beloved dog Toto.

Now a state legislator in Kansas is hoping that three clicks of his heels and a “yay” vote from his fellow legislators will keep Toto in Kansas forever — enshrined as the state’s official dog.

Rep. Ed Trimmer, a Democrat who has served in the Kansas House since 2005, last week introduced House Bill No. 251 to make the Cairn Terrier, the same breed as Toto in the 1939 movie, the official dog of the Sunflower State.

“This is a good piece of legislation,” Trimmer told ABCNews.com.  “I do realize that this isn’t  the most important piece of legislation or issue we’re dealing with, but I hope we can take this legislation as what it is, a symbolic piece of legislation, and move it through,” he said.

The idea to add a state dog to the list of Kansas’s symbols, which include a state reptile (the ornate box turtle), a state animal (the buffalo) and a state insect (the honeybee),  was suggested to Trimmer by Brenda Moore, a constituent and dog lover.

“I’ve lived in Kansas all my life,” Moore told the Wichita Eagle.  “I am a middle-aged woman and would like to say I’ve done something great for my state before I am dead and gone.”

Moore is also the obedience chairwoman of the South Central Kansas Kennel Club, located in Trimmer’s district.

While sentimental, the choice of tying Toto so closely to the bid to finally gain an official dog for the state was also strategic; a similar attempt to declare the Cairn Terrier the official dog of Kansas failed in 2006, after no legislator would carry the proposal, the Eagle reported.

“As dog club members and dog lovers, none of us in our group own any Cairn Terriers, but we thought because of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ situation, it would be the ideal dog,” Moore said. “We thought we could avoid conflict that way because no one would say we had to pick their dog.”

Trimmer’s bill will move to the House Standing Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources for a hearing and then to the House floor for a vote.

“You just never know about a bill like this.  Sometimes they take a while and sometimes they fly right through,” Trimmer said of the bill’s prospects, recalling the drawn-out debate the state legislature had over which type of grass should be the official state grass.   (In 2010, little bluestem became the official state grass.)

If the bill is successful, Kansas would become the 12th state to have an official dog, joining Alaska, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“Largely I’m getting a lot of ribbing about it,” Trimmer said when asked if any fellow legislators had signed on to his bill.  “I get barked at at receptions.”

Moore did not respond to a request for comment today by ABCNews.com.

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