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. Deb, Kalamazoo, MI

    The dog didn't scramble up there because he liked it, he scrambled up there because you wanted him too and he wanted to please you. Did he ride up there in the rain too?

    Normally I'm skeptical of PETA, but in this case, I'm more horrified of the thought of someone actually strapping a dog carrier with a dog in it to the roof of their car. Talk about a lack of judgment.

    June 29, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. yukon Corneilious

    I've always kept mine in the trunk...Only had one die in 40 years...

    June 29, 2007 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Cella, NY, NY

    Next time someone straps me to the roof of a car against my free will, I'll be certain to crap all over the place and then say how much I loved it! The difference is, I can speak for myself, that dog cant, and screw you PETA haters, are you honestly that upset that humans care more about animals that cant speak for themselves? We can speak for ourselves, so we have no excuse when we pull this kind of stupid crap. I'm so glad you all support Mitt on this. Strap your kid to the roof of your car, Vote for Mr. No-Respect-for-Life-unless-it-benefits-him-financially for President in '08!! Whoo! There should be a law that says if you have EVER treated an animal with indignity in your life, your kids should be taken away from you because you obviously couldnt care less who/what lives or dies as long as you get your 15 minutes at the end of the day. Here's your 15 minutes Romney. Enjoy it. Those who actually respect life, big, small, furry or hairless, will not be voting for you.

    June 29, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  4. John Philadelphia, PA

    Perfect response by Romney, PETA....just makes me laugh.

    June 29, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. Alexei, Philadelphia PA

    Just one question: does Mitt consider quail to be varmint?

    June 29, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. Lori, OKC, OK

    Romney is comparing his strapping his dog to the roof to the 1983 Chevy Chase movie. He DID NOT strap his dog to roof 24 years ago. He did it recently and tried to laugh it off as a joke. He is a disgrace. So, please, people, read the article first before talking about how people dug up dirt from two decades ago okay?

    June 29, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  7. Sam, Merrimack, NH

    I also wouldn't expect my dog to catch a frisbee with his teeth. Does that make me hate animals and treat them cruelly because I play fetch with them?

    June 29, 2007 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  8. Wendy Dorn, Pleasant Dale, NE

    I wish that people would stop playing the "if I had to choose between my child and my dog" ticket. That isn't the point. The whole story isn't here. Apparently the dog lost control of his bowels during the trip due to stress. Also, a 'makeshift kennel' isn't necessarily safe. I've met Ingrid Newkirk- I'm not a member of PETA- and she is a dedicated, quiet, non-obnoxious person who cares about animals- and she said nothing 'outrageous' in this article- If I saw anyone traveling down the highway with their dog on the roof, I would call the state patrol. I wouldn't have a conversation with myself about it being only a dog, and not a child. Hello.

    June 29, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Jared - Illinois

    Depending on the type of container, it is no different than transporting your pet in the bed of your pick up truck.

    June 29, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Stormy Holland MA

    The do "likes fresh air ??? " He talks too....you mean the dog likes to accompany the family at all costs...that is the way family dogs are....what a horrid thing to do to a loyal pet !!!
    Someone should make a cage for this manand travel him on the roof of the car to see how he likes it !!!!!

    June 29, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  11. Ali, Los Angeles, California

    If he is elected, I bet you that his way of dealing with the deficit is to tie it on the roof of his car, and drive into the sunset....hoping it may blow off, and just go away!!

    June 29, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Kathy Bennett Murfreesboro, TN

    I think this is just terrible. I am an animal lover and I cannot cast my vote for someone who would do something like this. Mr. Romney, you have just lost a vote. Please, in the future, think about kindness to animals; this is heartbreaking to me.

    June 29, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |


    June 29, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. Debbie Atlanta, Georgia

    This happened in what year? 1983?
    Is the said dog even alive?
    ... What about that war ... and stuff?

    June 29, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. Rita Lane

    Mr. Romney,

    Don't justify your barbaric action by saying your dog liked fresh air. How insensitive and ignorant!

    June 29, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. ikonen, philadelphia PA

    I read the Globe article. Including the part where the dog craps all over himself, the carrier and the rear window might put the whole "the dog likes it up there" line in better context. The dog was obviously terrified.

    June 29, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. Nathan, Bronx NY

    Fox just reported that Edwards ate a bug when he was a child. Are we going to put up with this...or fight back. Who's with me!!!

    June 29, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Sheila Yonkers NY

    WOW...this jerk just lost my vote and I am a stauch Republican....What a horrid mean thing to do to a poor innocent loyal dog !! Better he should put himself up on the roof and risk all the inherant dangers ...This cruel thoughtless man for President ??? OMG no !!!!!

    June 29, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  19. John, Dallas Texas

    I love this story. It showcases how impotent and counter-productive the MSM have become while at the same time letting everyone see how liberals let irrationality and emotion trump logic. The comments section for this story is a wonderful example of this.
    I have a homework assignment for you people who are stumbling to compare the dog's insistance on getting on top of the car during road trips and enjoying it with the dog "not knowing whats good for it, he pooped on the car its so terrified romney doesnt like his dog bla blah etc"... look up "classical conditioning." The Fact that this is the only thing to ever come close to a 'scandal' for Romney is really a shining recognition of how squeaky clean his image and personal life is.

    June 29, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. dsnyder, Martinsburg, WV

    A pet will never be as equal as my children, never, ever, ever....no comparison....Anyways, dogs love hanging their heads out the window the entire ride or getting in the back of the truck! Go Romney

    June 29, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. LORI COLETTI Ephrata, WA

    let's put romney on the roof of the car and drive him all over the state!!!!

    June 29, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. BillK, Tulsa, OK

    PETA? What a bunch of mixed up wacko's. What difference is there between the back of a pick-up or the roof of the family car? BTW I like to eat hamburgers and chicken strips.

    June 29, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. Maggie, Saugus, CA

    I can't stand these animal organizations that are constantly comparing animals to children. Yes, I understand that people love their pets like they would children, but to compare putting a dog in a crate up on the roof of a car to strapping your child in like that? They are nuts. I think they do more harm than good for animals.

    June 29, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. Mary, Hag, MD

    About 25 -30 years ago, children didn't have to be in a car seat and sat in the front seat with no seat belt. Mom put her arm across me, when coming to a stop. My favorite was laying in the back window!

    June 29, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Gloria, Greensboro, NC

    PETA is right, no one I know would find what he did to the family pet acceptable.

    He sounds like Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Summer vacation. Its only funny in the movies.

    June 29, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
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