Committee considers 3 dogs as official historical canines

A colorful canine statue, dog-biscuit shaped cookies and a chorus of musical barking made for a raucous scene Thursday at the Missouri Capitol.

It was all part of the state House Tourism and Natural Resources Committee’s hearing on three competing proposals to name an “official state historical dog.”

Drawing the most attention were supporters for “Old Drum,” a part-Bloodhound dubbed the “best friend a man has” during the closing statement of a state Supreme Court case in 1870. Members of the Chamber of Commerce in the western Missouri city of Warrensburg, where Old Drum lived, brought the cookies and the statue, painted with pictures of the four seasons.

“In all the seasons, Old Drum is there,” Chamber president Tammy Long said. “We do everything Old Drum in the ‘burg.”

Democratic Rep. Joe Aull of Marshall, meanwhile, touted a measure to honor “Jim the Wonder Dog,” a hunting dog from Broken Arrow whose legend includes an ability to predict future events. Aull noted Jim even has a song, with a chorus that called for the barking that punctuated the beginning of testimony from outside the hearing room.

Rounding out the pack of potential honorees was a Newfoundland named “Seaman,” famous as the gentle giant that accompanied Lewis and Clark as they explored the Louisiana Purchase territory. Republican Rep. Chrissy Sommer of St. Charles, sponsor of the bid for Seaman, said the large dog journeyed all the way across Missouri, while the other two nominees only represent certain parts of the state.

The House in 2010 rejected a previous bid to give Seaman the title after some lawmakers questioned honoring a Canadian-born dog.

But for all the excited testimony, committee chairman Don Ruzicka told the Associated Press he likely won’t send any of the “state historical dog” bills to the full House for debate this year. The Mount Vernon Republican said there just isn’t enough time left in the legislative session, which ends in about five weeks.

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