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Ruff Politics: Kentucky Mayor Is a Real Dog

Feb 9, 2011 – 1:13 PM
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Michael McLaughlin Contributor

Blue Dog Democrats may have lost power in Congress, but one border collie in Kentucky is living it up as a mayor for life, and this is one politician who doesn't mind being called a bitch.

Meet Lucy Lou, the four-legged, tail-wagging chief executive of Rabbit Hash, Ky., a tiny unincorporated hamlet on the Ohio River, elected in 2008 in a tight election pitting several canine candidates against one cat, one opossum, one jackass and one human.

The top dog has few responsibilities for the ceremonial gig, but that doesn't mean she's lying down on the job.
Kentucky Mayor Is a Real Dog,
Reader's Digest
This politician is a dog! The town of Rabbit Hash, Ky., elected a dog named Lucy Lou to be mayor. Reader's Digest brand ambassadors Mike Amos (left), Jason Ramos (center) and Jayson Harrison (right) met with the pooch.

Last week, a Reader's Digest contingent rolled into town to honor the small town as part of its "We Hear You America" 100-city tour, in promotion of the recently updated "Off the Beaten Path" travel guide.

"She's famous for greeting the public," said Terrie Markesbery, manager of the historic Rabbit Hash General Store, one of seven buildings in the three-acre village. "When you get out of the car, she comes right up to you."

Alpha dog Lucy Lou's itinerary calls for frequent public appearances, often at the local animal shelter, Markesbery told AOL News.

"She's perfect for the job. It's a low-paying, highly visible position," Markesbery said. "She has to do a lot of footwork."

That's high praise coming from Markesbery, 45, whose cat Travis also ran for mayor.

According to election results on rabbithashusa.com -- which described the campaign as a "dog eat dog race" -- Alex, the sole human candidate, placed 15th in a field of 16 and pulled in just two votes.

The election was a heated contest, with the candidates and their factions fighting like, well, cats and dogs.

Money freely and openly changed hands during the balloting. Voters pitched in $1 for each vote they wanted to cast. The poll tax was slated to fund the restoration of a historic church in Rabbit Hash, with more than $22,000 raised for the cause.

"It did what it was supposed to do,' said Markesbery, who was born and raised in surrounding parts of Boone County. "It made Rabbit Hash highly visible."

Lucy Lou's victory was a win for the record books, as she broke through the doghouse glass ceiling. Although she's the third canine to hold the post since it was created in 1998, she's the first bitch in the mayor's office after two male predecessors, Goofy and Junior. She appears to be unaffiliated with any political party, which is no problem in this town where they let sleeping dogs lie.

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Visitors to the town are often struck by the seamless transition to an animal-dominated political system.

"It almost felt odd to ask about it, because of how normal it seemed to them," said Jay Ramos, a Reader's Digest magazine roving ambassador, who visited the town on Feb. 4. Ramos rolled through to donate $1,000 to the Rabbit Hatch Historic Society to preserve the town's charm.

"The reason they have a dog mayor is I think they have more of a sense of humor than most of individuals," he told AOL News. "It's definitely something you want to go and see."
Filed under: Nation, Politics, Weird News, AOL Original
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