June 29th, 2007
05:39 PM ET
12 years ago

Romney: Dog 'enjoyed' riding on car roof

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

Filed under: Uncategorized
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. Shawnie Cannon, Grants Pass OR

    I feel so informed.

    June 28, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Joe, Fayetteville AR

    A condemnation by a hypocritical, radical organization like PETA makes me think Romney may be ok.

    If Bush wants to fight the war on terrorism, start with the group that funds Coronado and ELF.

    June 28, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Jon, La Jolla, CA

    This is such a ridiculous story that I cannot even believe educated people are caring about this. PETA needs to find something substantial to do with their days if they are witch hunting events from 1983! They need to get off their high horse and stop purposefully picking fights with people they don't like for personal reasons.

    June 28, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. Isaac Fairbanks, AK

    It's too bad PETA doesn't stand for People for the Eating of Tasty Animals. Then I would be a member.
    But seriously, if PETA is anti-Romney then I may just vote for him

    June 28, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. Sylvester King

    The political system has gone to the Dog's, why not the news. They both play fetch in the end, one the ball and
    the other what ever the big Co. throw out.

    June 28, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  6. Tom Z, FL

    I'm very offended! How can we take PETA seriously if they get their horses high?

    June 28, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. David, Kansas City MO

    That's it.. my vote is now solid for Romney- and his dog.

    June 28, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  8. S. Richard, Olathe, KS

    Sounds like Mr. Romney has ticked off the right people! Good on ya, Mitt!!

    June 29, 2007 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  9. RJ Roch. NY

    “PETA was unhappy when I went quail hunting in Georgia, and they’re not happy that my dog likes fresh air.”

    No, I believe they are unhappy that your putting an animals life at risk by strapping it to the roof of your car. Why doesn't he ride up there, I bet he'd feel awfully safe being secured by a couple bungie cords around a win-shielded box. If your dog like fresh air, crack a window.

    I agree it doesn't have much to do about politics, but this is why there are animal protection agencies.

    June 29, 2007 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  10. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    Some of the comments are foolish and tired, and lacking in thought.

    Please think for a moment. Would you strap your dog on the top of a car roof (although it was a makeshift container), drive miles and still feel your dog had a good experience? If like Romney you said your dog enjoyed it (yeah?!?) than more power to you. I personally would NEVER do that with my dog. She rides IN the car with the rest of us. She is a part of our family not a 'thing' like luggage that is strapped to the roof of my car.

    I am not with PETA. I wanted to state that just in case some of you want to be rude and crude.

    June 29, 2007 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  11. LeftyLosey

    Traveling with your dog on top of your car does seem cruel on the face of it, but it all depends on how he had the cage setup. My dogs love riding in the open air of a truck.
    Is it really so hard to do a little more research before splashing attack headlines??

    June 29, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. bret, atl, ga

    If you vote for Romney because PETA is upset with him (or for any other reason, for that matter), then I FEAR for this Country's continued existence. In fact, I'm going to start making plans to get as far away as possible.

    June 29, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  13. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    First of all, this event is 25 years ago.

    I suppose that all those dogs that ride in the back of pick up trucks in the wind are to be felt sorry for as well? Also, the dog wasn't strapped, it was the carrier the dog rode in. Please explain the big difference of this and riding in a carrier in a plane cargo hold or the back of a pick-up? The man built a wind barrier, the dog got to go on vacation and wasn't left at home. If you want to treat your dog equally to a human, that is your choice, but this dog doesn't sound like he suffered one bit. And if Romney's foes have to go this far back to find such feeble dirt, he may end up with my vote.

    June 29, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Lisa Williams, Bloomington, IN

    Dogs also like to ride in open trick beds, stand on open car windows, and sit on your lap while you're trying to drive. Does Romney also let children do whatever they want, whether it's safe or not? PETA's not always right, by any means, but they are about this.

    June 29, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. Loretta

    Iam OK with the dog riding in a secured, custom made for comfort in regards to his dog, BUT....now I know he feels rodeo's in this day and age are not inhumane treatment of animales, I know I would not vote in in office and expect him to be a humane president. Too bad, he was looking like he might have gooten my Rep. vote.

    June 29, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. G. Sapp, Atlanta, Ga.

    Although I'm not a fan of PETA, in this case I must agree with them. Anyone who possessed an ounce of intelligence would know better than to transport their dog in a rooftop carrier. My dog would love to eat a chocolate bar, but I know it's a potential threat to his health. My dog enjoys licking his butt, but I try to discourage it.

    If you don't know how to take proper care of your pets, then how are you going to take care of an entire country?

    June 29, 2007 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  17. Ted, Titusville, FL

    Heck, I wish I had thought of that. My dogs love riding in the back of the truck. They get 10 times the smells than when they're walking, but when I fill up the bed of truck with stuff, I have nowhere to put them. Thanks to PETA, I have a new idea to put them up on the roof so they can still get the smelling in. I could vote for a guy with new, innovative ideas like this.

    June 29, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. Darlene San Jose, CA

    Give me a break that was what in 1983? I guess
    they have to dig deep to find dirt.

    June 29, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. D Wend, Bufalo Grove, IL

    Whether or not Mr. Romney's placing his dog on top of his car is cruel or not his point of view on rodeos is misplaced. As for hunting, I suppose that he does not consider killing an animal cruel. Perhpas Mr. Romney would like to consider if the animal wanted to die.

    June 29, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Mary Randall, Baltimore, MD

    I think that's terrible to strap his on top of his vehicle. I totally agree with PETA. Suppose that thing had suddenly come loose? That dog would be killed. Shame on Mr. Romney, and his family for allowing this to happen.

    June 29, 2007 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Greg, Oceanside CA

    Back at that same time, when I was a kid, we never wore seat belts, never wore a bike helmet, we would sit on my dad's lap on long road trips and pretend to help drive the car or, sit in the front passenger seat with my mom and read. Back in the day, pets were treated like animals, not people. Times are different. This is such a non-story. How is this any different than the people who put their dogs in the back of their trucks. At least the dog was secured.

    June 29, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  22. Walter Stewart, Sunnyvale, CA

    I've been laughing for twenty minutes now. Check out this quote:

    "...but I know it’s a potential threat to his health. My dog enjoys licking his butt, but I try to discourage it.

    If you don’t know how to take proper care of your pets, then how are you going to take care of an entire country?"

    Q: So if Romney taught his dog to use toilet paper, would that make him fit to run the country?

    June 29, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Marianne, Washington, DC

    While I'm not a fan of Mitt or PETA, it was over two decades ago and our awareness of animal safety was totally different. My very educated parents (who always seat-belted us kids in) used to let the dog ride in the back of the truck, while the dog we have now gets belted in like everyone else with a special harness. And dogs sometimes like ridiculous things and it's hard to convince them not to want them–it's easier to make it as safe and pratical as possible and go with the flow.

    June 29, 2007 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  24. Gina, O'Fallon, IL

    Seriously, strapping an animal to the top of a car is just careless and thoughless.

    June 29, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Brian, New York, NY

    Romney is a good person and a great candidate.

    I would gladly strap someone from PETA to the top of my car for a 5 hour trip.

    Thank you, CNN, for reporting this and making us all dumber.

    June 29, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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