Residents of Cockington have recently elected Patrick, a four-year-old miniature Shetland pony with a penchant for gulping down Guinness, as their unofficial mayor after the old mayor died.

Tension arose when Patrick was banned from a local pub after a complaint was filed to the council. Patrick is known for his love of Guinness and became a regular at The Drum Inn during the pandemic. The pub owners have since built an "interactive pen" in the garden to allow him to graze freely while waiting for his drink.

The pony, however, was forced to leave the premises after someone complained to the Torbay Council. Newsweek reports that the local council opened an enforcement case and decreed that the interactive pen the pub owners had built for him required planning permission and had to be taken down. They added that for Patrick to be allowed to continue visiting the pub, the garden had to be reclassified as official grazing land.

The owners did not want to go through the expense of applying for planning permission and had to dismantle Patrick's enclosure.

The Daily Mail shared that UK Home Office Minister Mr Kevin Foster has since accused the council of "making itself a complete joke." He said, "Like most people living in the area, I am surprised by the hardline attitudes councillors have decided to take about a pony. Obviously, all the serious issues in Torbay have been resolved, so they can focus their time on a pony pen at a pub. It's just unbelievable!"

Mr Foster added, "Perhaps the council are a little bit concerned given their own performance that Patrick is going to give them a run for their money and were worried about competition. For me Patrick's title of Mayor of Cocklington was a light-hearted move to promote the village. Even I did not realise that it would provoke Torbay Council into making itself a complete joke."

Patrick was born on St. Patrick's day and is already the official mascot for The War Horse Memorial. He is also an ambassador for the Purple Poppy organisation, which appreciates the sacrifices animals make during wartime.

Patrick is also a therapy pony that has helped raise thousands of pounds for equine charities. He regularly visits patients in recovery groups, hospitals, and mental health wards. The Devon Recovery Learning Community has made him their mascot.

Patrick, the pony, isn't the first non-human elected official in the world. Bosco, the dog, was mayor of Sunol, California, for 13 years, and in 2018, Sweet Tart, the cat, was elected mayor of Omena, Michigan. In Fair Haven, Vermont, Lincoln, the goat, became mayor in 2019 after a close-fought campaign against a dog.

Shetland Pony