Romney is taking heat for the way he transported his dog on family trips.
(CNN) - Under fire from a leading animal rights group, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney defended the family dog's mode of transportation to a 1983 summer vacation.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) criticized the Republican presidential hopeful after The Boston Globe reported that Romney transported his dog in a rooftop carrier when the family drove from Boston to Ontario.
"If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog," Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA said in a statement. "I don’t know who would find that acceptable."
The article noted that Romney had built a wind shield carrier to make the ride more comfortable for the family's Irish Setter.
But on the campaign trail in Pennsylvania Thursday, Romney defended his chosen mode of transportation for the family dog.
"He scrambled up there every time we went on trips, got in all by himself and enjoyed it," Romney said of the Irish Setter.
Romney also conceded any endorsement of his candidacy by the group was unlikely.
"PETA has not been my fan over the years. PETA was after me for having a rodeo at the Olympics," he said in reference to his role as chief executive of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. "PETA was unhappy when I went quail hunting in Georgia, and they're not happy that my dog likes fresh air."
- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford