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PETA objects to Ohio bill to make Labrador the state dog

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A national animal welfare organization says it opposes a proposal to make the Labrador retriever the state dog of Ohio, arguing the bill will entice puppy mills to produce them in large numbers.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. Jeffery Rezabek of Clayton, The Columbus Dispatch reported. PETA says it believes the measure should be amended.

"The last thing that Ohio's already severely crowded animal shelters need is a deluge of yet another type of dog," said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, according to a press release. "If Ohioans' hearts are set on naming an official state dog, PETA suggests the humble, healthy, and 100 percent lovable all-American mutt."

Rezabek previously said his bill wouldn't interfere with a proposal introduced last year to designate the shelter pet as the state pet.

Why the Labrador? Rezabek told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Labrador embodies the values of Ohio. The American Kennel Club has named it the top breed for 26 consecutive years, noting the breed's friendly, outgoing nature, intelligence and family-friendliness.

A dozen states have an official state dog, including Georgia, which in 2016 recognized the "adoptable dog." Others include the Great Dane in Pennsylvania and the American water spaniel in Wisconsin.

The Dispatch notes that while Ohio doesn't have a state dog, it has several other official animals, including a state amphibian, bird, frog, mammal and reptile. They are, respectively, the spotted salamander, the cardinal, the bullfrog, the white-tailed deer and the black racer snake.

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