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. M.W., Los Angeles, CA

    Who cares what Romney did with his dog...I just want to know what he's done as Governor of Mass. Is the state worse or better off with him being Governor?

    June 29, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. JN, Hamilton OH

    I was a supporter of Romney and while I agree PETA pushes the limits more often than not. I disagree with allowing a dog to ride in the back of a pickup, accidents can and do happen. No one should strap any living creature (in a carrier or not) to the roof of a car. What if it fell off? Then his children (who were young at the time) would have had to see that? And for those of you who think simply because Romney and PETA clash you're going to vote for him, well I can blame the sad state of this country squarely at your feet, that's like voting for someone because he wears Armani suits. Completely ludicris.

    June 29, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. EGS, Maryland

    There are soooo many important issues facing our nation. But, PETA people in their infinite wisdom want to argue about a politician's choices in 1983 for pet transport? I must admit, I would have never thought of his particular method of dog transport, but I find it nothing but amusing. Get a life Ingrid! People and animals do not have equal rights! Don't expect people to treat children and pets the same way. If you treat them the same, good for you, but the vast majority of humanity would disagree with your point of view. Give it a rest!

    June 29, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. strawberry, Fort Lewis,Wa.

    Read the rest of the story, folks. Romney says his dog enjoyed the 12 HOUR RIDE! But when he pulled into a gas station, he found the poor animal had urinated and defecated all over itself AND the top of thge station wagon. Oh yeah, he really enjoyed the ride. So what does the jerk do, clean the animal up and tuck him safe and sound with the kids? NO! The cruel, heartless, jerk hoses the dog and the car down and continues on with the trip. He's a coldhearted beast, who has no business owning an animal let alone watching out for the weakest among us.

    June 29, 2007 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  5. Greg, Bellmore NY

    Yeah, because people that hunt animals are certainly pro-life!

    June 29, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. G. Sapp, Atlanta, Ga.

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

    Wow, Mr. Stewart, I'm glad you got such a hoot out of that. A man puts a dog up on his rooftop carrier, drives for 12 hours without stopping, not even when the dog defecates and it drips down the window.

    Yeah, that always cracks me up.

    Romney is a jerk.

    June 29, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |


    June 29, 2007 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  8. ReadBtwthelins

    Is this the same organization that was recently caught stuffing dead dogs in public trash cans??

    June 29, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Cowman Georgia

    PETA needs to get a grip and a life!!! They are wackos.

    June 29, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Charles, Philly

    Who else was thinking of the dog in National Lampoon's Vacation when you were reading this article?

    June 29, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Kevn, Berkley, MI

    I've never been a supporter of PETA, but seriously, strapping your dog to the roof of your car?! Uh...yeah...

    Sorry Mitt, I thought your were a possible contender, but with your obviously stupid decision making abilities, your going to do yourself in.

    June 29, 2007 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. Ryan, Johnstown PA

    I'm not sure 24 year old conduct is relevant but... putting a dog on the roof is screwed up. I'm no PETA warrior or anything but that's out there, even for 1983. PETA should maybe find some more recent and relevant events to posture on and I hope Romney's views on animal care have matured.

    June 29, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  13. David, San Diego CA

    So I guess since kids don't ride in the cargo section of planes then that is abuse also. And we don't leave kids home alone so leaving a dog alone at home is abuse under this theory also. This whole subject is ridiculous... I could see if he dragged it behind but that is not the case.

    June 29, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Brendose, Oceanside CA

    LOL! Remember the movie Vacation when Clark straps Sparky to the bumper and takes off? Oh, good times!!
    I'm sure Mitt wouldn't have been too happy if he had to suddenly stop and the dog's carrier flew off. But, I guess we've had run out of things to say about these candidates if we are focusing on their dogs now huh?

    June 29, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  15. Toni Reinhart, Reston, Virginia

    Anyone that thoughtless and cruel to an animal does not deserve to be a parent, much less president.

    June 29, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Stephen Myers Grande Prairie Canada

    Had to comment on this one!! With all the world in termoil if this is the biggest strike againest Romney then I say elect him now. PETA? Whatever!!

    June 29, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Jen, Indianapolis Indiana

    In all fairness, it was in 1983. That was when it was ok to ride in the back of a pickup truck too... We also played on metal playground equipment. OOOOH!! However, if he tried it nowadays, –that would be a problem...

    June 29, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  18. Eric Staples Cincinnati Ohio

    Romney traveling with his dog on the roof for "fresh air" indicates intelligence on the dog's part. The ignorance of Romney probably encouraged the dog to seek other accommodations, no matter how dangerous!

    June 29, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Alex, Miami, FL

    Dogs are not people, they are not your children.

    I loved my dog, and was heart stricken when he found a hole in the fence that we didn't know about and got out and hit by a car. My wife was traumatized, we felt horrible.

    But it was our dog, not our child. If my child got out and hit by a car, you'd call for me to be arrested for child endangerment. We treat children differently than animals.

    Ethical treatment of animals is NOT the same as pretending that they are people. Our unhealthy obsession with pets as a nation is a bit twisted. I miss my dog terribly, but he never occupied the same place as my heart as my child does.

    Life involves choices, and favoring the children while treating the dog like a pet isn't a bad one.

    June 29, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  20. Walter Stewart, Sunnyvale, CA

    "drives for 12 hours without stopping, not even when the dog defecates and it drips down the window"

    There isn't a station wagon anywhere that can drive twelve hours without stopping. You're exaggerating the story, you weren't there. You don't know how many times they stopped or if the dog got out of the cage at stops, etc. All you have is a 25 year old recollection from a young kid, selective editing from a journalist and people willing to exaggerate the situation to serve their own agenda.

    Moreover, I was laughing at the dog licking and stated so, you twisted that as well.

    Romney is a good family man who tried to include a dog on a vacation with seven people and their luggage in a station wagon. And people foaming at the mouth over this incident say more about themselves than anyone else.

    June 29, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. Sharon Fremont, Ca

    Perhaps, Romney's family treats the
    dog this way, because the police and the animal protection laws allow it.
    After all, each State has its own laws.
    Just go into another State and find out.

    June 29, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  22. LooseMarbles

    So Ms Newkirk, are you saying that putting a lease on a dog is unacceptable because you wouldn't do that to a child?
    How about letting them out to use the bathroom? What, Did you potty train your dog??

    June 29, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Irene Aloisio, Old Forge NY

    It has been proven for 100's of years that a dog will wag his tail & lick the hand that beats him.....he has no choice but to do as his master commands! Perhaps Romney should be given a ride atop a car going about 80mph & see how HE likes it!!!!

    June 29, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. JDB, Hopkinton, MA

    At least he didn't attach his dog's leash to the back bumper of the car like Chevy Chase did in National Lampoon's "Vacation".

    June 29, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  25. Boyle, Lynn MA

    This is ridiculous, I hate Romney with a passion but my doggies would love a roofdeck for my car. I might build one this weekend. And what is wrong with quail hunting? I am not a hunter but shooting it yourself is more ethical than having someone else do it for you. I hate PETA and I hate my wife, who is a PETA member. PETA could actually do good if they did not make a big stink out of non-issues like this one. I'm going to KFC today just to spite these people.

    June 29, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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