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Animal Politicians: 10 US Towns That Have Elected Furry Friends

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Last Updated on: March 22, 2023 by Crystal Uys

concept of a dog politician in a press conference

Most of us love our pets, no matter how messy they make our homes or how much fur they leave on our clothes. Many of us wouldn’t say the same about politicians, but most of them are probably used to that! But what about the cases where an animal is also a politician? In this article, we will tell you about 10 US towns that have elected adorable furry friends into office.


Our 10 Favorite US Towns With Animal Politicians:

1. Sunol, California

Type of Animal Politician: Dog
Years in Office: 1981 – 1994

In 1981, the residents of Sunol, an unincorporated town near San Francisco, elected a dog named Bosco as their mayor. Bosco ran against two humans and received 75 of the 120 votes in the election. Bosco was a Lab-Rottweiler mix, and his campaign promise was “a bone in every dish, a cat in every tree, and a fire hydrant in every corner.”

The dog mayor spent his time in office traveling around town with his owner, visiting with his constituents. In 1987, the mayor’s office was briefly left open when Bosco mysteriously disappeared for a week. Happily, he returned safely to Sunol and remained honorary mayor until he died in 1994. If you visit Sunol today, you can find a statue of Bosco and a local brewery named in his honor.


2. Talkeetna, Alaska

Type of Animal Politician: Cat
Years in Office: 1997 – present

The tiny town of Talkeetna, Alaska, named its first animal politician in 1997, a cat named Stubbs who lived at the local general store. Stubbs remained in office for 20 years until he died in 2017. He “worked” out of his office in the general store. The local residents appreciated their feline mayor’s commitment to never raising taxes.

Reportedly, Stubbs drank water spiked with catnip out of a wineglass. After Stubbs’ death, a brother-sister cat duo named Aurora and Denali took over his duties.


3. Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

Type of Animal Politician: Dog
Years in Office: 1998 – present

Rabbit Hash, an unincorporated town in Kentucky, elected its first dog mayor in 1998. The town holds these “elections” as a fundraiser for the town’s historical society during each presidential election year.

In 2008, after two consecutive male dogs held office, the town elected its first female mayor, a Border Collie named Lucy Lou. Lucy Lou left office in 2016 and was replaced by a pit bull named Brynneth Pawltro, who beat out a cat and a donkey for the role. The current mayor is a French Bulldog named Wilbur, who was elected in 2020 at the tender age of 6 months.


4. Lajitas, Texas

Type of Animal Politician: Goat
Years in Office: 1986 – present

Lajitas, an unincorporated border town in Texas, is currently on its fourth goat mayor. The first goat, named Clay Henry I, was elected in 1986. Clay Henry’s owner, annoyed that an out-of-towner from Houston was running for mayor, first unsuccessfully ran him for mayor in 1985. By the next year, Clay Henry I was in charge. Since then, Clay Henry’s descendants have continued serving as mayors. Clay Henry IV, the current mayor, lives in a pen at the Lajitas General Store and is a nationally famous tourism draw. All the Clay Henrys rose to fame for their love of drinking beer, and the current mayor is no exception.


5. Eastsound, Washington

Type of Animal Politician: Dog, cow, bearded dragon, rabbit, orca
Years in Office: 2009 – present

Each year since 2009, the unincorporated town of Eastsound holds an animal mayor election as a fundraiser for a local preschool. The current mayor is a dog named Sweet Girl Love, but she will soon be replaced by a new politician in 2023. Eastsound has seen a diverse selection of animal politicians over the years, including an orca named Granny, who was elected in 2015.

Sweet Girl Love replaced the Bearded Dragon, Ricky, elected in 2021. Most mayors have been dogs, but a cow and rabbit have also held the office. The town takes the election seriously, with candidates maintaining a full slate of campaign stops and an official website and Facebook page dedicated to the yearly event.


6. Cormorant Village, Minnesota

Type of Animal Politician: Dog
Years in Office: 2014 – 2019

From 2014 to 2019, the small town of Cormorant Village, Minnesota, was “governed” by a Great Pyrenees named Duke. As a part-time farm dog, Duke was elected via write-in votes in 2014 and was continuously re-elected in a landslide every year until he died in 2019. In 2016, Duke received every vote except for one, which went to his girlfriend, Lassie.

No word on how this impacted their relationship status, but Duke’s popularity with the townspeople was never in question. Duke’s duties as mayor mainly involved ceremonial appearances in parades (where he wore an official top hat) and spending time at the local bars. Since his death, the role of town mayor has been left empty in his honor.


7. Fairhaven, Vermont

Type of Animal Politician: Goat, dog
Years in Office: 2019 – present

Fairhaven, Vermont, elected its first pet mayor in 2019, a goat named Lincoln. Since then, the town has held a new “election” each year. Another goat, Linda, won office in 2020, and the first dog mayor, Murfee, took charge in 2021. The current mayor is another goat named Elsa, who was elected in 2022.

Students care for the pet mayor candidates at the local elementary school, and the kids get to vote alongside the adults. The first pet mayor election was held as a fundraiser for a new school playground. Mayor Murfee and his human owner took charge of a successful effort to bring a dog park to town, although the pet mayor’s role is primarily seen as symbolic.


8. Omena, Michigan

Type of Animal Politician: Dog, cat
Years in Office: 2006 – present

Every three years, the town of Omena, Michigan, holds an election for a new pet mayor. This contest serves as a fundraiser for the town’s historical society, and competition can be fierce. Any animal who lives in the town is eligible to run, and the field of candidates can run as high as 18 potential politicians.

The current mayor, elected in 2021, is a Lab mix named Rosie. Other official town positions are also held by animals, such as a chicken named Penny Labriola serving as the vice-mayor. The 2nd vice-mayor is the town’s previous pet mayor, a cat named Sweet Tart, who received extensive national media coverage in 2018 after her election.


9. Idyllwild, California

Type of Animal Politician: Dog
Years in Office: 2012 – present

As an unincorporated town located about 100 miles from Los Angeles, Idyllwild elected its first dog mayor in 2012. The election served as a fundraiser for the local animal rescue, and any resident could nominate their pet. The first mayor, a Golden Retriever named Max, won two-thirds of the vote over 13 other dogs and two cats.

Sadly, Max passed away after less than a year in office. Rather than hold another election, the town decided to continue the tradition of “Mayor Max” by giving the office to another Golden Retriever who was distantly related to the first mayor. Mayor Max II served for 9 years before his death in July 2022. The new Mayor, Max III, a Golden Retriever puppy, officially took office in December 2022.


10. Georgetown, Colorado

Type of Animal Politician: Dog
Years in Office: 2020 – present

The honorary mayor of Georgetown, Colorado, is a Bernese Mountain Dog named Parker, who’s something of a canine celebrity in the area. He’s the official mascot of Loveland Ski Area and has his own website, merch sales, and email to book appearances. Parker is frequently spotted alongside national media personalities and Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies players.

He regularly pops up on nationally televised football games, including at least once this past season. Parker also makes plenty of time for charity work in his role as honorary mayor.


Conclusion

As you can see, America has a long tradition of electing animal mayors of all shapes and sizes. Many continue to win re-election year after year with little resistance, which is a refreshing change of pace compared to human political events! While these animal politicians all hold largely symbolic roles, they still provide the 10 towns on our list with benefits such as increased tourism, fundraising, and national media attention. Civic duty comes in many forms, after all!


Featured Image Credit: Viktor Gladkov, Shutterstock

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