Pet Mayor Race Heats Up

California election raises funds for nonprofit animal welfare group.

By Soraya Gutierrez | Posted: June 6, 2008 2 a.m. EDT

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Coutesy of Montclair Veterinary Hospital Pet & Wildlife Fund
Charley is the only cat among the final eight pet candidates.
The top candidates vying for the seat of pet mayor in Montclair, Calif., are locked in a dead heat. The eight finalists include six dogs, one cat and a “lame duck” named Waffles.

Every vote the candidates win counts to support the Montclair Veterinary Hospital Pet and Wildlife Fund. In the first two weeks of the race, more than $5,000 was raised for the nonprofit organization, says Lee Richter, executive director.

In its fifth year, the Vote for Pet Mayor contest helps the community raise funds for the animal welfare group. In 2007, 11,000 votes were counted as part of the fundraiser.

Each online donation of $1 is a vote, and stuffing the ballot box for a favorite candidate won’t get people in trouble. This year, people have cast votes from Florida, Maine, Michigan and New York, Richter says.

Duties of the pet mayor include serving as ambassador of goodwill, making special appearances and raising awareness about proper pet care. Pet candidates must possess good people skills, be friendly and warm and have owners that are committed to community involvement, she says.

Each of the 200 businesses in the Montclair Village Association can sponsor a pet candidate of their choice and provide on-site polling places. Once a pet gets a local business sponsor, the campaigning can begin.

“That’s the fun part,” Richter says.

Charley the cat is the lone feline among the final eight pet candidates. Charley is running on a political platform that promotes a safe and healthy environment for all beings.

The top two leaders in this year’s race, Bella the Beagle and Gracie the German Short-haired Pointer, are incumbents from the previous election. “They’re pretty much neck and neck at the moment,” Richter says.

Waffles the duck arrived at MVH Pet and Wildlife Fund with a leg injury. Somebody adopted him after his broken leg was fixed, and now he’s the “lame duck” of the race, Richter jokes.

Signs, stickers and posters are encouraged in campaigns to spread the word and gain support. Voters are given “I Voted” stickers decorated with two paw prints.

Voters also can go to the polls during a special election that takes place at the Montclair Village Farmer’s Market on La Salle Avenue at Mountain Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday. The winner of the next pet mayor race will be announced at a ceremony June 15.

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Pet Mayor Race Heats Up

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Reader Comments

Linda    Wichita, KS

6/10/2008 2:28:05 PM

This looks like a great way to raise money. You should be able to get a lot of people interested in this.

lAURIE    eRIE, PA

6/6/2008 7:16:45 PM

cOOL

Cathy    Hubbard, OH

6/6/2008 5:24:42 AM

What a cute and fun idea and a great way to raise money. I like it.

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