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. Ramie, Colorado Springs, CO

    IT WAS 24 YEARS AGO! Learn to count Shawnie before you comment! The dog was also loosing control over his bowels, which clearly states he was not in a comfortable situation. Plus it was a 12 hour trip! All of you people make me sick thinking anything like this is acceptable!

    July 24, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. doglover, WA

    The dog pooped in his crate. That should indicate that the dog could maybe be a little uncomfortable. But rather than think even for a second that there might be a problem, Mitt and sons probably had a good hearty laugh as they hosed it down like a prisoner. Ah, the great American vacation. Remember the time old Seamus was so scared out of his mind that he crapped on the roof? Good times. Good times.

    August 6, 2007 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  3. d sanders ft mccoy fl

    Why all the anger at PETA? Hello...did anyone even hear the actual story line? Romney strapped his pet to the roof of his car for 12 hours!!!
    The way a person will treat an animal says a lot about the kind of person that they are. Murders usually started out abusing animals.
    My pets are family members and I would never treat a family member this way!

    August 16, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  4. Bob Walsh, Wakefield, MASS

    I hear Michael Vick endorsed Romney

    August 23, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  5. Matt, Cincinnati, OH

    Vote for a man that has no scruples about strapping his own dog to the roof of his car for 12 hours on a family vacation??? Ooh yes please!!! So much for "compassionate conservativism"! ...I'm sure the dog had it coming.

    November 10, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. nancyh

    I was disgusted by this story. If you kids wanted to ride on the roof rack would you let them. He claims that his dog loved to ride up there. If you don't have room in the car for the dog you leave him at home and hire a pet sitter. I watched many of my neighbor's pets growing up. Yes even 20 years ago most people were responsible pet owners. It doesn't surprise me that he supports torture tactics; he tortures his own family pet.

    January 5, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  7. dave

    I don't think cruelty was at all an issue here. Many comments here seem to be politically motivated or based on emotion, not logic. Since the dog was shielded from the wind, he would just be in breezy conditions. I've been in these conditions... ridden in the back of a truck, in a convertible, in a car with the windows down and on a motorcycle, it's not that bad. The dog has a fur coat so it may have actually felt good to be in the breeze depending on the temperature. I've seen dogs in the back of trucks, their tail is wagging. Ever see a dog in a car with the windows down? His head is usually sticking out the window with his tongue flapping in the wind. I think people who think too much with emotion get hung up on the phrase "dog strapped to the top of a car" and don't think about the actual conditions.

    The brown liquid was probably a result of something he ate or diarrhea, not from stressful conditions. Romney said "He scrambled up there every time we went on trips," Dogs love to be with people and the dog was glad just to be going wherever the family was going. Dogs hate being left alone. If you were going to ding Romney for anything, it would be a possible safety issue if the dog carrier wasn't strapped securely. The only cruelty I could possibly see is the dog being in a dog crate, dogs love to be out in the open running around not in a crate. Since this was just for temporary travel, I don't think it's that bad. If the dog could choose, I'm sure he would have ridden inside the car... with the windows down.

    January 27, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15