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Fourth Canine Mayor in Kentucky Town
Pit Bull triumphs over Australian Shepherd and Border Collie

The new mayor of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky is a three-year old Pit Bull named Brynneth Pawltro who goes by Brynn. It’s natural to wonder how the town feels about having a canine mayor, and the answer is that they must like it. Brynn is the fourth dog in a row to be elected mayor there. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the position is largely ceremonial.

Rabbit Hash is a small town (population 315) known for having the best known and best-preserved general store in the state of Kentucky. The Rabbit Hash General Store was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, but unfortunately, it burned down in 2016. Rebuilding it is a shared goal within the town, and money brought in by the mayoral election is an important source of funds for the project. Each vote costs a dollar, with this year’s election bringing in over $7300 for the Rabbit Hash Historical Society.

The election is less a typical exercise in democracy and more a source of community pride, good fun and fundraising. The first election for mayor took place in 1998, when a dog named Goofy Borneman-Calhoun won. He died in office at the age of 16 in 2001, and the office of mayor remained empty until 2004 when Junior Cochran, a Black Labrador Retriever, assumed office. Junior Cochran died in office in 2008, and a few months later, a special election was held to fill the position. It was at that time that the town elected its first female mayor, a Border Collie named Lucy Lou.

After Brynn won the most recent election, the Rabbit Hash Historical Society decided to make the first and second runners up Ambassadors to Rabbit Hash. If Brynn is unavailable for an event, Bourbon the Australian Shepherd or Lady Stone the Border Collie will appear in her place.

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Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in working with dogs with serious behavioral problems, including aggression. She is the author of five books on canine training and behavior.

photo by Brynneth Pawltro/Facebook

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