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. John, Seattle Washington

    My dog rides on top of the car with no bungees, no container, and no seat belt. The only time he wants to ride in the bed of the truck is in december when he is wet and its freezing cold outside. Other than that he jumps up on top of the car and pulls a michael j fox teen wolf truck surf. Dogs are stupid they enjoy things that people consider dangerous.

    June 29, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. heather, san diego

    PETA why don't you try to protect children as well as you do animals. I am a dog lover but come on...this is ridiculous and yes I am a democrat.

    June 29, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  3. JLE Seattle WA

    This does seem pretty odd; I don't know many families that tie their dogs to the roof of their car. But then again what does this have to do with anything? Is cnn really worried about the relations of a top tier canidate and his dog? How about giving the second tier canidates some more coverage versus worrying about a man and his dog.

    June 29, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  4. NN, Sacramento, CA

    “If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog,”
    That is a humilating comparison...children should NEVER be compare to animals! Only a moron would do such a thing!

    June 29, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. Scott from NJ

    The people commenting pro-Romney on this one have got to be kidding. This was cruel and abusive behavior by a thoughtless man, who also threw in his 1 of 2 times going hunting to score with the NRA. What a jerk.

    June 29, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  6. Marlene, New York, New York

    I am disgusted. He should be fined and arrested for animal cruelty. How revolting.

    June 29, 2007 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Leandro, Washington, DC

    This seems like an excellent time for Republican Presidential Candidate Romney ™ to put his foot down against radical, left-wing special interest groups. Spin away.

    June 29, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. AS, San Jose, CA

    PETA doesn't like Romney.


    That means I still consider himself a possible candidate for my vote.

    Anyone PETA supports I oppose.

    June 29, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. PETA (Put Everything Towards Arguing), California

    "... transported his dog in a ROOFTOP carrier..."

    If it is a ROOFTOP carrier, then where else would it be but on the roof!

    "If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car ..."
    Since I have done this, then it is ok for the dog too?

    June 29, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    If the dog enjoys it so much, why did he release his bowels all over the roof and windows of the automobile? "he likes fresh air" honestly now... *rolls eyes*

    June 29, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Diana Desrosiers Idyllwild, California

    This scenario must give pause as to who (Romney vs his dog.) has more common sense. If,as he states, the dog lives "fresh air" (@ hwy speeds?) wel...my 3 dogs would enjoy running loose accross the st. to chase Coyotes, Squirrels etc...
    I do not let them do everything they want. They have all the affection,water, food, walks et al & are quite happy but, being dogs, it is my job to protect them from harm; I know what is hazardous to their health (i.e.running in front of cars.)I belive this qualifies for a "Darwin award" then again, I am a member of (the) well-known radicals of the Humane Society & ASPCA who feels that those who cannot competently care for a companion animal should desist acquiring any.

    June 29, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. C. Smith

    My dog enjoys chewing on electrical cords, still I as a human have the good sense to know it is not good for the dog, and I do not let him do it. Dear Mr. Romney, please act like a humane human and admit you used poor judgement with your family pet.

    June 29, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Carl, Dallas,TX

    Just to inform the undeducated mass that is these posts... there is no way you can drive 12 hours non stop... think about it....

    I also love the comments saying he lacks character, yet make fun of his name and his religion. If that doesn't spell hypocracy, then I don't know what does...

    Last but not least, I bet the dog enjoyed riding up there... WE WILL NEVER KNOW! So don't judge someone that was raised in a generation where seat belts were merely objects in a car and not safety measures!

    June 29, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Carl, Dallas,TX

    I am a 25 year old, and I remember mom and dad telling me stories about how they never wore seat belts as children in the 1950s and 1960s. I doubt you will call them and my grandparents reckless and stupid and inhumane.


    June 29, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Taylor, Orem, UT

    I strap my child in a car seat. Is that the mode of transport Ms. Newkirk is suggesting for Irish Setters?

    June 29, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Carl, Dallas,TX

    TO THE PEOPLE SAYING IT'S HORRIBLE WHAT HE DID: please state one thing you did 20 years ago that may seem objectionable...

    I,for one, tried weed one time. So what... we elected a president that couldn't keep it in his pants. Who are you to judge Romney...

    June 29, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  17. JC Saratoga, CA

    I don't know what the problem is. My stepfather who absolutely loved his dog, probably as much as us kids drove from North Carolina to Texas with the dog in a carrier strapped to the top of the car. This was in July 1985 People need to focus on real matters at hand, not things that happened 20 years ago with no bearing today. How many kids rode in the front seat with out seatbelts 20 years ago or how many parents let their kids sit in their laps to learn how to drive at 10 years old? Answer: majority of the population where I'm from.

    Honestly, who here is the same as they were 20 years ago? All these people who want to bash others for things that happened that long ago obviously have personal issues not related.

    June 29, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Steve, San Mateo, CA

    Politics sure are RUFF!

    June 29, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. JF, Baltimore, MD

    Just an observation...to all the people saying "I'm sure the dog loved it", the dog did soil itself.

    If you know anything at all about dogs, they will do whatever is in their power NOT to soil where they eat or sleep. The fact that this actually happened means that either 1) the dog was terrified, 2) the dog was sick, or 3) the idiot didn't make nearly enough stops. Any way you slice it, the dog clearly didn't enjoy itself and should not have been traveling in such a manner. It's unbelievable.

    June 29, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |

    Hope he doesn't treat the wounded & outsourced American middle class this way!
    And did he get an approval from the Mormon High Command to do this to the Pooche?
    A lot of questions about this guy....

    June 29, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  21. Jo Ann Teaff, Texas

    He is an idiot! Poor dog.

    June 29, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Romney apologists can try to downplay this all they want.

    Bottomline this is just NUTS. Who would do such a crazy thing???

    I've done A LOT of stupid things in my life as well. Though this has to be one of dumbest things I ever heard someone do...period.

    What was he thinking...Boston to Ontario – Canada on the roof???

    June 29, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Bob Roane, Springfield, VA

    I'll bet his favorite movie is National Lampoon's "Vacation".

    June 29, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. Kevin, Spring TX

    PETA is ridiculous! The statement could have been valid if stated as "if you wouldn't do (blank) to the dog, you shouldn't do (same blank) to the child" – not the other way around! I keep my dog in the backyard, but I sure wouldn't keep a child outside!. Dumb PETA. But what else can be expected of that outfit... And another thing – this episode happened TWENTY-FOUR YEARS AGO. Dear PETA – please go sit quietly together in a circle and tell each other how good and important your cause is, and leave the rest of America alone!

    June 29, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Jonathan, Portland, Oregon

    PETA. Yeah...these are the people whose members fraudulently obtain animals by claiming they will find a home for them, euthanizing them, and dumping the carcasses in area dumpsters, then defend the practice. PETA has no credibility concerning anything to do with "ethical" treatment of animals.

    June 29, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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