By Kevin Murphy
KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) - An animal rights group is objecting to proposed Kansas legislation that would make the Cairn terrier the state dog in honor of Toto, Dorothy's loyal pooch in the movie classic "The Wizard of Oz."
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals wrote a letter Thursday to Kansas state Rep. Ed Trimmer asking him to withdraw a bill designating the Cairn terrier the state's official dog breed. The "Oz" movie is set, in part, in Kansas.
Martin Mersereau, director of cruelty investigations for PETA, said designating the Cairn terrier as state dog would create more puppy mills in a state he said already has too many.
"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," Mersereau wrote.
"What's more, " he stated, "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."
Trimmer, a Democrat, said Thursday he will not withdraw the bill. He disagreed that designating a state dog breed will create more puppy mills.
"That's a stretch," he said.
Trimmer said a kennel club in Kansas asked him to introduce the bill. Students around the state are taking interest in it because it involves dogs and it will be a lesson for them on how legislation moves through government, he said. The bill is in committee.
(Reporting By Kevin Murphy; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Paul Thomasch)