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A bill to name the golden retriever the official "state domestic animal" fetched just enough votes to pass in the Senate.

SB53 passed on a 15-12 vote, the bare minimum needed to advance to the House.

Its sponsor, Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, pleaded for members to allow it to proceed, noting it was proposed by a fourth grade class in South Jordan's Daybreak Elementary. Osmond wants to allow the youngsters to testify again in a House hearing.

Osmond said the students want the honor for the golden retriever because it is one of the most popular dogs adopted from animal shelters, and is a breed often used for therapy dogs.

Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said he had "been beaten up" for saying in debate on Monday that he preferred cocker spaniels, and said such bills are a waste of time.

"I ran a bill like this years ago and was so embarrassed I vowed I would never do it again. So I'm voting no with the message to everyone that this is not, I think, something to take our time with," he said.

Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, said he "has a Chihuahua who is very interested in this bill" and he voted to advance it to the House "so he has a chance to make his case" there.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said, "I've got a poodle at home named Coco. I could hardly look him in the eye last night" after voting for the bill in an earlier procedural vote. "But I made a commitment" to help move it to the House, so he voted for it again.

Four states have state dogs: the Alaskan Malamute in Alaska; the Catahoula leopard dog in Louisiana; the Chesapeake Bay retriever in Maryland; and the American water spaniel in Wisconsin. Two states also have a state cat: the Maine coon cat in Maine, and the calico cat in Maryland.