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US town elects goat, dog as honorary mayor

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A town in Vermont, USA has elected both a goat and a dog to serve as its honorary mayor, an unusual step the town says it had to take in order to receive funds to renovate a 32-year-old playground.

It is not the first time the town of Fair Haven has elected an animal as mayor.

In 2018, Fair Haven residents elected Lincoln the goat as its honorary mayor. Lincoln helped raise about $10,000 while the current mayor, Murfee, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, has raised $20,000, Town Manager Joe Gunter told the Rutland Herald.

The oddball idea of pet mayor elections to raise money to rehabilitate the playground and to help get local kids civically involved came from a local town manager.

Murfee’s owner, Linda Barker, said that when she was talked into having Murfee get involved in politics, she thought it would be easy to raise money through T-shirts, then the pandemic struck.

So she shifted to masks, she’s made nearly 1,000 of them and will be making another round of them for Valentine’s Day. She raised more than $5,000 from the masks and a similar amount from basket raffles.

The town needed $100,000 to pay for the playground’s renovations, fundraisers led by the goat and the dog made $30,000, and the town has put forward another $20,000 toward the project.

Now they have gotten most of their contributions due to their animal mayors, the town plans to start construction for the project in May.

The town was also recently awarded a $50,000 grant from the federal land and water conservation fund.

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