Rabbit Hash, a small hamlet on the banks of the Ohio River, is home to Kentucky’s oldest continuously operated general store, and the country’s only dog mayor: Junior, a 12-year-old black Lab who assumed office in 2004. He is, in fact, Rabbit Hash’s second canine mayor; the first was Goofy, who took office in 1998 and served until his death in 2001. In the election, Junior faced a pig, a donkey and a fellow canine. Votes cost $1 each, and the hamlet’s citizens could vote as many times as they wished—the election was a fundraiser for historic preservation.
Junior roams freely around the 30 acres he shares with canine family members and Jane Cochran and her husband Randy. “He really has no duties as mayor” and likes it that way, says Cochran. “He has no other political ambitions.¨
Still, Junior makes public appearances and uses his office to promote good causes; he is spokespet for a number of charities, including the Northern Kentucky Women’s Crisis Center’s pet protection program. Junior is also lending his name to a line of hot sauces sold at the general store.
Cochran says Junior is enjoying his time in the spotlight. “When you get out his kerchief to wear to events, he gets very excited.”
UPDATE: Following Mayor Junior’s regrettable demise in May 2008, Rabbit Hash elected a new mayor, Lucy Lou, a red and white Border Collie, who was victorious in a candidate field that included 10 dogs, one cat, one opossum, one jackass, and one human. RIP, Mayor Junior (1995—2008).