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By By Laura T. Coffey

Toto, do you have a feeling you’re not in a Kansas legislative spat anymore? That’s, um, because you’re not.

Much like the Wicked Witch of the West, a proposal to make the famed “Wizard of Oz” dog breed the state dog of Kansas melted away this week. Democratic state Rep. Ed Trimmer had introduced a bill to make Toto’s breed, the Cairn Terrier, an official state symbol, but the bill died in a House committee on Monday.

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Trimmer said he’ll likely reintroduce the bill next year.

“We had great responses from kids,” Trimmer told The Wichita Eagle. “And, I think this will give me a chance to go into the classrooms and visit with them, let them know this is part of the learning process and sometimes when you ask the first time, and the answer is no, you have to learn how to ask again. If it is something you want, you have to be persistent.”

The animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, strongly opposed the legislation on the grounds that it would encourage puppy mills in Kansas “to churn out as many puppies as possible to meet the new demand for a ‘Toto.’ ”

Brenda Moore, the obedience chairwoman with the South Central Kansas Kennel Club who first suggested the state dog idea to Trimmer, said Kansas’ puppy mill operators have been facing tougher penalties in recent years.

“We want people to know that dog breeders are responsible people and that if we do get a state dog, we will not capitalize on it,” Moore told The Wichita Eagle. “I don’t think Kansas should be labeled a puppy mill state anymore. ... There are a lot of dog lovers out there who would like to see Kansas have a state dog.”

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