Ruff Election: Meet Brynneth Pawltro, Canine Mayor (Plus More Animal Politicians!)
Brynneth Pawltro, the recently elected mayor of Rabbit Hash, Ky., is described by townsfolk as “nice,” “outgoing,” and with the “best smile I’ve ever seen.” On the other hand, she's sometimes overly affectionate with her constituency—she'll kiss them to forever if given the chance. She’s also only three years old, has a penchant for squeaky toys, and loves belly rubs.
You see, Ms. Pawltro is a dog—a pit bull terrier to be exact, owned by local resident Jordie Bamforth. And she’s also the fourth dog mayor of this small Southern town (population 315 in the 2010 census), which is located 78 miles north of Lexington.
Pawltro beat out a chicken, a donkey, and a cat for the coveted position, which is part of a tradition that started in the 1990s as a fundraiser to help pay for town improvements; humans pay a dollar to vote in the election, and there’s no limit to how many votes you can cast. The money from the latest election is going to restoring the General Store—the epicenter of town life—which was damaged in an electrical fire, according to the Associated Press.
On the dog’s Facebook page, Ms. Pawlto says her mission is to bring “peace, love, and understanding to her beloved town.” (Sounds like Pawltro might be an Elvis Costello fan.) Her political views are described as “other.” Rabbit Hash isn’t alone in electing dogs to leadership positions. There have also been canine mayors in Minnesota and California. And that’s just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. In honor of Ms. Pawlto’s big win, here are some other animal politicians that she can possibly look to for guidance as she goes about her mayoral duties.
A Real Muleheaded Politician
All the way back in 1938, a mule by the name of Boston Curtis was elected Republican precinct committeeman for Milton, Washington. He was backed by a Democrat, ran uncontested, and received 51 votes. He won, it seems, because the voters weren’t aware he was a mule. Curtis’ election was masterminded by the town’s Democratic mayor, Kenneth “Catsup” Simmons, as a way to both thumb his nose at the Republicans and to show that voters “have no idea whom they support.” He went so far as bringing the mule down to city hall and helped it put its hoof print, in lieu of an actual signature, on all the official documents needed to run for the position.
Rooting Out Corruption?
During the chaos-ridden 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, the Yippies—Youth International Party—nominated a pig named Pigasus the Immortal for president of the United States with the campaign promise: “They nominate a president and he eats the people. We nominate a president and the people eat him.” The stunt was the brainchild of famed activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin who were arrested by Chicago police just as the press conference to highlight their candidate’s qualifications was getting underway. The men were charged with bringing a pig to Chicago, among other crimes. The Chicago Tribune later reported that Pigasus ended up on an Illinois farm, far from Washington D.C.
Clay Henry Sr. was a beer-swilling goat politician who ruled the town of Lajitas, Texas with an iron hoof back in the 8os and 90s. He drank a lot of beer, had his way with the does, was unruly as hell, and yet was reelected several times. His son, and then eventually his grandson, took over the position following Henry Sr.’s untimely death during a head-butting incident with his own kin over the affections of a female. But in a way, Clay Henry Sr. still rules in Lajitas; he was stuffed after his death and is on display at the town’s only watering hole, a spot called The Trading Post.