PETA mad Toto from The Wizard of Oz might be state dog of Kansas?

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Somewhere over the rainbow a celebrity news scandal is brewing over a film that hit the big screen back in 1939 and has become an American classic movie. The non-profit organization PETA (People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals) is opposing government officials in the state of Kansas who are hoping to make Dorothy’s dog Toto in The Wizard of Oz — a Cairn Terrier purebred pet — their state dog. Are state officials wrong to hope that the purebred pup will be adopted as the state mascot to help them promote tourism?

With the Hollywood history infused into their tourist trade, having Toto the dog from the Judy Garland movie The Wisdom of Oz be promoted as the pet to get if you live in Kansas, the people who crusade for animal rights say making a pure breed dog a star will only result in a slew of Cairns ending up in local animal shelters after people who buy them impulsively are not prepared to care for the puppies. PETA has issued a statement pleasing with Kansas state officials to make mutts, not Cairn Terriers, their state dog.

So, while the fictional Toto the dog may have (according to the LA Times), “survived flying inside a Kansas tornado, being abducted by flying monkeys and, of course, bouncing around in Dorothy’s bicycle basket,” his little descendents and relatives might not be so lucky. They say, “the little cairn terrier from “The Wizard of Oz” now faces another challenge: He’s in the middle of a war between politicians and PETA over whether to make him the state dog of Kansas.”

Animal-rights activists from PETA say the proposal by state Rep. Ed Trimmer, who has put a bill before lawmakers, would lead to more puppy mills churning out little cairn terriers for customers eager to have their own official state dog.

“As you know, dogs in puppy mills are typically kept in tiny, feces-caked cages and are never given any love, attention or opportunity to do anything that is natural or important to them — not even to roll in the grass,” PETA wrote to Trimmer this week in hopes of getting him to withdraw House Bill 2513.

“Kansas’ animal shelters are already overcrowded — the last thing they need is a deluge of Totos,” PETA vice president Daphna Nachminovitch said in a news release announcing the group’s opposition to Trimmer’s plan. “If Kansas is set on naming an official state dog, PETA suggests the humble, healthy, and 100 percent lovable all-American mutt.”

What do you think? Knowing that most of the states have pure bred dogs as their state animal as part of tradition in defining identity, are they out of like to suggest that Toto take his rightful place as an important animal in the state’s history?

Granted the risk that some of the pets might end up homeless is always present for any dog — not just any one breed exclusively. But just like the Carolina Dog is found more commonly in North Carolina and South Carolina animal shelters (because they are pets bred in the South), the little scrappy looking dogs might end up without decent homes more prevalent in the Kansas region if sentimental parents and grandparents re-watch the film and decide to buy purebred dogs from puppy mills that might end up being so closely bred they end up too quirky.

To that end, there are pros and cons to the proposition, for sure… but whenever someone thinks of actress Judy Garland, chances are they picture her standing there holding her little dog Toto and clicking the heels of her ruby-red slippers together while wishing her way back to Kansas. If the state can get licensed to use the movie image of Dorothy and her dog, the boon to the tourist industry could be enough to give local residents the financial windfall to be able to not only buy the pets but to also take great care of them (despite the current economic recession).

That’s just our thoughts. What are your ideas and concerns?

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