You can’t escape politics these days, and Salt Lake County has just made the topic even more unavoidable by taking a sweet, innocent pet fundraising drive and turning it into a slander-filled hate campaign.

If you find slogans like “Cats Rule, Dogs Drool” hateful, anyway.

A few weeks back, the county’s Animal Services Department launched PAWlitical Pets, an actual election where 16 Salt Lake County-residing pets were nominated for the office of PAWlitical mayor (formerly the less-inclusive Canine Mayor).

From this candidate pool, the pet with the most votes will win the mayoral title, which comes with a two-year term — unless the victorious canine or feline is impeached for crazy drunk-tweeting at 3 a.m. or leading us into a war with North Korea.

To stabilize the pet government, Salt Lake County is also filling the roles of pet deputy mayor a PAWlitical Pet Council.

To cast a ballot for your favorite, you have to participate in a good-old-fashioned Chicago-style vote buy. Each vote costs $1, and the pet with the most votes before the Nov. 10 deadline wins the mayoral gig, which will officially be announced Nov. 14, followed by an official swearing-in ceremony — really! — sometime after.

All the cash raised from this ballot-box stuffing will go to the county’s Injured Animal Fund, which provides care for sick and injured animals throughout the year.

As for the candidates, it’s a species-diverse slate of 14 dogs and two cats, leading to some hard-hitting questions: Why no guinea pigs, goldfish, snakes, lizards, or bunnies? Where is this election’s version of the United Utah Party? There’s one candidate named Sputnik — a sign of secret Russian meddling?

You can read the pets’ platforms and vote at