Talkeetna’s honorary mayor is recuperating after a dog attack over the holiday weekend. Stubbs the cat gained worldwide notoriety last summer when his story went viral on a number of news agencies. He is currently recovering from surgery to repair a punctured lung, but has numerous other injuries that still need to be treated.
While Stubbs is referred to as the mayor of Talkeetna, no such official position exists, since the town is not incorporated. Still, the sixteen year old yellow cat is well-known and well-liked by locals and many visitors. He can often be seen lounging on a pile of furs at home in Nagley’s Store or visiting other businesses in town, especially the ones that will give him a snack or a comfortable place for a nap. It was on one of his usual walkabouts on Saturday that Stubbs was attacked by a local dog.
Lauri Stec, manager at Nagley’s, says that she received a call at home at about 10:00 pm on Saturday night informing her of the attack. She and a group of locals searched for the missing mayor for about an hour. Eventually, Lauri went back to a place she had checked previously and called to Stubbs, who apparently recognized her voice and came out of his hiding spot. Lauri and another Nagley’s employee took him to the local vet to assess Stubbs’ injuries.
“She looked at the wound, it was probably four or five inches long, and when she opened it up, you could see all the way to his insides. She wrapped him up, took her euthanasia kit with her–because she didn’t know if we would make it to the vet in time for Stubbs. We ended up going to Big Lake, because that was the closest vet that we could get to.”
They did make it to Big Lake in time, and Stubbs was placed on life support before going into surgery for about three hours. His injuries are extensive, and include a punctured lung and broken sternum. Though he was seriously wounded, Stubbs’ prognosis is not as bad as it could have been.
“He’s holding his own. He’s a tough old cat, but they’re keeping him heavily sedated, because these next three days is when he’ll be in the most pain, because his body is just starting to repair.”
Talkeetna is a town where dogs are often seen running loose downtown. Most of the time, there are minimal issues, but this incident has some locals questioning the practice of allowing dogs to have the run of Main Street. Lauri says she believes a lot of the responsibility lies with dog owners when something like this happens. She did not mention euthanizing the attacking dog, but says that some action is necessary.
“Something should be done. I also know that he had a reputation and has a reputation, and I think that the owner should take a little more responsibility for it. He should have never been able to run loose. I think that maybe we should think about it and be a little more responsible for their pets. I have dogs. They don’t come into town. So, this is probably eye-opening for a lot of people, and I’m sure there’s a lot of people that are going to be upset over it, but it is what it is. And it’s Stubbs, whether he’s the honorary mayor or not, he’s a pet, and he’s well taken care of and well loved.”
The story of Stubbs’ mauling has gone nation-wide, and calls of support, and messages and donations have started coming in on the Mayor Stubbs Facebook page. For now, Talkeetna’s honorary mayor will remain at the animal hospital in Big Lake as his treatment continues.