Skip to main content

Stubbs the cat, Alaska town mayor, mauled by dog

By Lateef Mungin and Amanda Watts, CNN
updated 9:26 AM EDT, Wed September 4, 2013
Stubbs has been mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for 16 years, since he was a kitten.
Stubbs has been mayor of Talkeetna, Alaska, for 16 years, since he was a kitten.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Cat has been mayor of Alaskan town for more than 15 years
  • "He's the mayor, it's not a joke," local resident says
  • A dog mauled the mayor, a residents say

(CNN) -- He's a beloved mayor, who's held the top office in Talkeetna, Alaska, for 16 years. So imagine the townfolks' shock when he was attacked.

Brutally mauled.

By a dog.

Oh, did we mention, this mayor's a cat?

Mayor Stubbs, a yellow tabby with more responsibility than your average cat, survived -- but is in bad shape.

A punctured lung. A fractured sternum. A 5-inch gash on his side.

Doctors took out a chest tube Tuesday, and he was breathing on his own for the first time since the weekend attack.

"It's a shame," said Ashley Kearns, who works at a pizza shop in the small town about 110 miles north of Anchorage. "He's the mayor, it's not a joke. I know it's ridiculous, but the town is run really well."

Profile: Mayor of Alaska village walks on four paws

Political career

The story of how Mayor Stubbs rose to power made international news after he was found in a box full of kittens in front of Nagley's General Store in town.

Lauri Stec, manager of the general store, decided to keep one kitten and named it "Stubbs" because he had no tail.

Soon afterward, residents weren't happy with any of the human candidates in the upcoming mayoral election and voted for Stubbs as a write-in candidate.

The kitten won, set up its unofficial mayor's office in the general store and spent more than a decade running the town.

Because the town of Talkeetna is a "historical district," the mayoral post is more symbolic than functional, locals say. That distinction makes it easy for the community of about 800 human beings to be led by a feline.

The weekend attack

Even though dogs run loose and outnumber people in Talkeetna, the canines seem to respect Stubbs' authority, Todd Basilone, owner of Mountain High Pizza Pie told CNN last year.

But at least one dog may have had a problem with him.

Stubbs was strolling about the town Saturday night as he does every night, when an unleashed dog came running across the street and bit into him.

"He had a big gash on his side about 4-5 inches long and once we got him to the vet we found out the gash went down to his organs," said Stec. "Right now is a crucial time cause he's heavily sedated on pain meds. He's in a lot of pain."

Stubbs' medical bills could top $2,000, Stec said.

And as the mayor fights for his life, there has been no word on the suspect.

"He is a large dog," Stec said. "He's a local dog."

Cat runs for mayor in Mexico

CNN's Holly Yan and Dorrine Mendoza contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 10:20 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
updated 8:22 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
updated 5:34 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT