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Dog Elected Mayor Of California Town

Meet Bentley James, the new mayor of Coronado, California. He’s handsome, friendly – and, yes, he’s a dog.

The Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is the city’s third canine mayor, chosen from a delightful field of 18 dogs in a fundraiser for local animal rescue PAWS of Coronado.

To qualify, all of the “caninedates” had to be residents of Coronado, which is located across San Diego Bay from downtown San Diego and has a population of about 24,000. Voters were also required to be residents of Coronado – and they had to pay $1 per vote to participate in the election.

The fundraiser brought in about $13,000, which is a pretty impressive voter turnout. The money will go to help cover medical care for the animals at PAWS, the all-volunteer rescue’s biggest expense.

Coronado’s human mayor, Casey Tanaka, revealed the election results on Wednesday night, just before an inauguration ceremony at the shelter. Bentley James, who had 4,677 votes, and his vice mayor, Blade, who was the runner-up, will serve two-year terms.

“There’s no hand on the Bible, no swearing in,” says Louise Shirey, a former president of PAWS, about the ceremony. But the mayor and all of the other candidates get ribbons with medallions featuring their names. The candidates who didn’t come in first or second still get chances to be council dogs, and Shirey says she hopes they’ll all be willing to represent PAWS by walking in the city’s Fourth of July parade.

Mayor Bentley James joins several other four-legged leaders from around the country. Check them out in our photo gallery, and tell us in the comments if you have an animal mayor near you.