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. Zellah Chicago, Il.

    An Irish Setter is a 75-85 lb dog! How the hell could he enjoy riding on the top of the roof in an perforated container for hundreds of miles. This really shows what type of logic this man displays. Duh!
    I wasn't voting for him before and surely nothing has changed now.

    June 29, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. Coaster26, Everywhere, USA

    Hahaha, It seems that they really had to dig deep to find something negative, and I'm not so sure aggravating PETA is a bad thing. I've had an Irish Setter, and I completely believe that he would have enjoyed riding on top of the car, had it occured to us to let him. I would rather see a dog in a secured carrier, with protection from the wind and bugs, than standing with both paws in the open window, or in the open bed of a truck, where every pothole throws them off balance. Congrats to him for being innovative and still keeping his dog safe.

    June 29, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Belmont, Massachusetts celebrity canine Seamus Romney enjoyed riding on top of the car? I guess that brown stuff running down the window was a token of the dog's appreciation for his master, Shameless. How much more crap does Willard M. Romney expect us to swallow?

    June 29, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  4. Dog Lover, Utah

    First, I'd like to start off by pointing out that in the early 80's most people didn't wear seatbelts or use baby carseats. But we're talking about a dog here...my dog loves to stick her head out the window for an entire journey! I really doubt that Seamus was miserable–it probably felt just like a ride in a convertible. Mitt is a dog lover and the fact that he brought the family dog on the trip showed that he loved it. When their dog couldn't go on a trip with them Mitt and Ann used to drive their dog an hour away to relatives in the country just so that their dog didn't have to be locked up in a kennel. They certainly had the money to board the dog and yet they took the time to do a 2 hour round trip at the beginning and end of their trip to make sure their dog was in a loving environment. I think that because Mitt is squeeky clean (He really IS...I know him) his opponents are showing their desperation with this supposed dog abuse.

    June 29, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  5. Jeff, Los Angeles, CA

    Romney gets dumber and dumber every day. Not that he has a chance in hell of winning the election.
    As an aside, Go PETA !!!

    June 29, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. sam hunt palm beach florida

    I am not a fan of PETA or Romney but I now think even less of him. Most people who have a pet in this country consider them an absolute part of their family (72%) and I do not think any of them would do what this supposed leader did. He was wrong when he put his dog on the roof of his car and he is even more wrong to make light of it. Fortunately i do not believe he will be elected and the irony is that maybe his family dog will get the "last laugh".

    June 29, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  7. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    "I’m sorry, but can somebody please explain to me how a family roadtrip constitutes “trying circumstances”?"

    Have you ever been on a road trip with five or six siblings? The man must be a saint.

    June 29, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  8. Erin Kelley, Tappahannock Virginia

    Why would anyone admit to this? Did he want this to become the discussion about him over the next several months? Why didn't he just hold his dog up by the ears to pose for the camera? Oh wait, has that been done?

    In today's climate, anyone who would admit to such an idiotic thing during the ramp-up to a presidential election shows a serious lack of judgement. For that reason alone, it is clear that this man is a moron who is unqualified to govern.

    June 29, 2007 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. Nancy O'Roark Austin, TX

    I find it very difficult to believe that ANY dog would prefer riding on top of a car alone, versus inside the car with their family/owners.

    June 29, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  10. Chris, Carlsbad, CA

    The fact that this blog has nearly 300 posts and the other ones dealing with the war, election, and REAL ISSUES have on average something like 10 makes me really wonder where our collective heads are at...

    June 29, 2007 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  11. jim Tampa Florida

    Let's keep a couple of things in perspective. Even though he's not my first choice for Prez, the fact that PETA went on some 25 year personal witch hunt against the guy and came up this says to me the man doesn't have that much to hide.

    Romney is a self made multi millionaire and he did it by building a legit business and had a good record as governor.

    I would bet the farm that the facts of the incident have been greatly exaggerated.

    June 30, 2007 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  12. Danielle, Baton Rouge, La.

    I would not say that this report is entirely irrelevant because I think this shows alot about his character. It doesn't matter when it took place. Why or how could someone treat their pet like luggage? Stuffing it into a carrier and then strapping it onto the roof of your vehicle for 12 hours!!! For any amount of time is just wrong....Let alone half a day! Does he not a conscience? If the dog enjoyed it so much why did he urinate and defecate all over himself? How can or why would someone be so neglectful? It sickens me to think that this could've happened more than once. Dogs like most animals feel fear and know when their life may be endanger. So no telling what that poor pooch went through being able to see, hear, and feel the pressure in the carrier going 50, 60 or even 70 mph. It must have been terrifying and not being able to do anything about it. If someone is unable to care properly for an animal....DO NOT GET ONE. How can someone not feel for this defenseless animal? It's just sad.

    June 30, 2007 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  13. Chris, United Kingdom

    Is this a joke? Its not like he put his cat in a microwave...and the dog is fine? Hell how do we know the dog didnt quite enjoy the ride that way – better than stuck in a hot crampt car??

    June 30, 2007 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  14. Jane Grant, Boston, Massachusetts

    The pro-Romney posts here were probably written by his organization. Going after PETA changes the subject but not the crime. Romney should've been Governor of Utah, not Massachusetts. He's a flip flopper and a bad representative of the state of Massachusetts. What he did to his dog is basically what he did to all Massachusetts citizens – he gave everyone the finger. Mitt Romney is not to be trusted. Everyone is supposed to serve King Mitt...please...we WANT the Republican offerings to be Romney, Giuliani, etc. What a rogues gallery!

    June 30, 2007 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  15. Diane, Pensacola, FL

    What an unbelievably stupid thing to do..
    But what's even more unbelievable? To try to justify it instead of just saying "that was years ago and I'm older and smarter now".

    June 30, 2007 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  16. wordster

    If the dog loved it so much, then why did he have a diarrhea attack all over the top of the car? Sounds like he wasn't having such a great time!

    June 30, 2007 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  17. Shelley, Louisville, KY

    Are you robot-brains NUTS?! It has nothing to do with PETA and EVERYTHING to do with a disgusting and pathetic thing to do to a dog. FOR 12 FREAKING HOURS?! One might marginally shrug it off if he were just transporting the animal a few blocks to the vet or something, but 12 hours? What kind of SICKO travels with a LIVE ANIMAL of ANY kind strapped in a box on the roof of a car? This certainly DOES give some insight into his abilities for office if he thinks something like that is OKAY.

    June 30, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Mark Willis, Kensington, MD

    "The dog obviously enjoyed his perch and the ride."

    According to the politician defending his actions. The dog was not available for interview. The dog loved it so much that a "brown liquid" was oozing from the carrier. So they stopped and "hosed him off" and then started up the 60 mph wind torture again on the trapped, wet animal. Is it any surprise that the man is pro-torture (by his own enthusiastic admission during the GOP debates) and wants to double the size of Guantanamo?

    You people supporting him want a president who will continue the policies that have made people around the world so badly hate us and want to kill us. You people need to be committed. Really.

    June 30, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Regardless of whether or not PETA is completely ethical in all their actions, or whether or not the dog liked going up on his car roof is irrelevant. Reading all the comments I have to say that i am offended that people would joke that since PETA has done, admittedly, unethical things that Romney has earned their vote. That's ridiculous. But the fact that he doesn't acknowledge that his actions may upset some people, and discredits them as silly, along with what the PETA org. in theory should stand for is wrong. God forbid people don't approve of his actions, however "petty" they may be, and he should apologize and recognize why they may indeed be upsetting. 'Divide and conquer' seems to be the method all conservatives have and are continuing to go on with, and in the end it won't work.

    June 30, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  20. Anonymous

    Just my humble opinion, but that's a STUPID reason to vote for a candidate.

    With kindest regards

    June 30, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  21. Narie, Champlin MN

    This has nothing to do with PETA. This has everything to do with common sense and compassion. It appears Mr. Romney has little of either. I personally wouldn't vote for someone who is cruel to animals, and I certainly wouldn't vote for someone with no common sense or compassion. He sounds like a man Ann Coulter would be fond of!

    June 30, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  22. Bobbygoode Sherman Oaks, CA

    Trashing PETA as a "radical" organization is beside the point; what about Romney's idiotic response? Or idiotic action (putting doggie on the roof)... let's hope he didn't explode frogs with firecrackers like Bush. Obviously such things are very telling.

    June 30, 2007 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. CMB Worcester, MA

    this article makes me proud to say im voting for mitt! (and his dog)

    June 30, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Jack McClelland

    The first time I heard this story, I thought for sure this man's Presidential ambitions just came chashing down. I mean, who would be so STUPID and CRUEL to strap your dog to the roof of your car. This is an easy one, this is just plain wrong and anyone with even an ounce of decency will see Romney for the idiot he is.

    And then I read some of the comments here, and all I can say now is, may God have mercy on your souls, if you have one left. You people are as sick as Romney.

    June 30, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Shane, Houston, TX

    Those of you who are citing this incident- and PETA's reaction to it- as a compelling reason to cast a vote for Romney... if only someone would cage and strap you to a rooftop to wallow in your own excrement for a 12-hour drive, preferably to some foreign nation where your mental shortcomings can no longer be an embarrassment to this already faltering nation, then we might be alright.

    June 30, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
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