The politics of Divide, west of Colorado Springs, have gone to the dogs, literally. Teller County Regional Animal Shelter (TCRAS) in Divide has held a mayoral race every two years since 2010 and elects an animal to represent the town of about 4,000 residents. Currently, Mayor Bentley, a labrador retriever-pointer mix, presides over the town. During his campaign in 2018, he raised $2,200 for the animal shelter from his votes alone, which cost $1 each at the time.
Divide has no human mayor, so someone came up with the idea of a fun election to raise money for the shelter and to highlight local businesses. “We almost always have mostly dogs — we’ve been begging for snakes or lizards or fish,” says Amy Elmont, director of public relations at TCRAS. This year, a fox, a cat, a goat and seven dogs are running for Divide Mayor.
The public pays $2 per vote, and all funds go directly to the shelter. As of March 2, the election had raised $6,132. Campaigning ends at midnight April 7, and the winner will be announced April 8 at noon, a day before Woodland Park’s mayor is announced.
Here is a voter guide highlighting a few of this year’s 10 candidates, including several dogs, a fox, a goat and a cat. Get informed; then cast your votes. Yes, in this race, you can truly vote early and vote often.
Billy, the Nubian Goat
Billy bleats that he’s “goat you covered.” The Divide Fire Protection District sponsors the Nubian goat, helping him promote the benefits and rewards of rescuing. Billy loves to pull carts, especially when they’re full of kids. He loves partaking in events, like the St. Paddy’s parade in Divide (March 15) and the Breakfast with Santa fundraiser.
Bourbon, the Labrador Retriever, aka Bourbon on the Rocks
At 9-years-old, this Labrador retriever knows he’s more experienced than the other pup candidates. Bourbon is a seasoned, strong-headed community leader who works to keep the pheasant population low at his ranch in Teller County. He promises to be as loyal to the townspeople as he is to his chew toy. He barks highly of those who also serve the town, like Fred the Waste Management driver. *Disclaimer: Treats may or not be involved. He knows what it’s like to live the shelter life, so his campaign is for his furry friends at TCRAS who need a safe, loving home.
Piper, the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog
This 1-year-old Swiss Mountain Dog is arguably one of the better known candidates throughout the small mountain town. Piper works at nonprofit organization Community Partnership, a family resource center in Divide, seven days a week as a greeter of guests and as an emotional support animal for employees. “A lot of employees will lay on the floor with her a few minutes out of the day. Sometimes we see really traumatic cases, so she helps,” says campaign manager and Community Partnership executive director Jodi Mijares. “Those who vote for Piper are really helping both TCRAS and Community Partnership.”
“I’m a working dog, I like to have jobs and be busy,” Piper says with translation by Mijares.
Chief, the Great Pyrenees
The 5-year-old Great Pyrenees is an ambassador for TCRAS though the “Fostering Hope and New Beginnings” mission. The mountain community is likely familiar with Chief, who was in ruff shape before the shelter. But since then, he has visited local schools and earned his therapy dog certification. Chief has a long history of getting love, so he feels it’s his time to return the love. “No day is so bad it can’t be fixed with a nap,” Chief barks.
Darwin, the Dalmatian
“See spot run” is the most fitting slogan for this 2-year-old Dalmatian. He’s dog-gone excited to run for Mayor of Divide. Darwin has likely been spotted at events, like the grand opening of Golden Meadows Dog Park and at Woodland Park High School’s Mr. Panther. He’s a trick dog extraordinaire as well as an AKC Canine Good Citizen. He promises to help other furry friends in need find their fur-ever home.
Scarlett, the Red Fox
She’s elegant, “fair and balanced,” but isn’t one to be messed with. She tells it like it is, especially to her foxy friend, Rhett. Scarlett is sponsored by the Colorado Wolf & Wildlife Center who rescued her and Rhett from a fur farm. It isn’t just her looks that earned her 300+ votes. She promotes uniqueness of everyone’s lives and practices it by flaunting her own distinct “perfume.”
Meet all the candidates, including Pitbull the tabby cat, Meadow the bulldog-boxer mix and more.