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. David (Bronx, NY)

    are the people who run PETA mentally handicapped? What is wrong with these idiots? To compare a family pet to a child is asinine and just shows how fanatical and out of touch with reality these animal rights people are. Why don't the lunatics at PETA use their time to really make a difference in the world instead of wasting it like they are. I dont think i'm in the minority when I say that the PETA people are really annoying and need to just relax and hush up.

    June 29, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Joe C., Chicago IL

    This guy ought to be strapped to the roof of a car for a while while Fido drives and THEN he can tell us that what he did is OK. What a dismissive, condescending moron.

    June 29, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Kristin Paskowski, Westlake, OH

    I would really like to strap his kids to the roof of the car and see how they like it... or even his wife. Who straps their dog to the roof of a car!! On many occasions I see people on the sides of the road after their valuables, and luggage toppled of their roof of the car. What would happen if that happened to his poor pooch? He probably wouldn't even stop.
    Figures, another republican who has absolutely no respect for another living thing... people... animals... nobody. Perhaps if his dog were made of oil he'd let him join the family inside of his vehicle.

    June 29, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. James, Sacramento, CA

    The fact that a small detail to a very lengthy and objective 7-part series of Romney in the Boston Globe made its own headline is laughable.

    June 29, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  5. Kim Maher, Hopatcong New Jersey

    Obviously this guy dosn't treat his dog with the love and compassion of a true animal lover, Why don't we strap his behind to the roof of a car and take him for a ride. Remember dogs, cats and any pets are a living breathing thing and should be treated as such!

    June 29, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  6. Jutta White, Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca.

    So it happened over 20 years ago, the point is that he is defending it NOW! He has no respect for life, which is obvious by his support for rodeos, quail hunting and the way he treated the family dog. A leader should be humane and not act like some barbarian!

    June 29, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. Marcia, La Verne, CA

    I've read some of the comments regarding Romney's mode of transportation for his dog. I strongly disapprove of his method. While this is not earth-shattering news, the comments by some of you disturb me – how can you be so uncaring about the treatment of an animal that soley depends on its family for its well-being. When we take on the responsibility of having a pet, we also take on the responsibility of that animal's health and safety. I totally agree with the the idea that if your wouldn't strap your child to the roof of a car, you shouldn't strap your pet to the roof of the car. PETA may have some outrageous methods, but at least they're passionate about caring for those who cannot care for themselves.

    June 29, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Barb, Middleburgh, NY

    Regardless of whether or not the family doog appeared to enjoy his rides on the top of the family car is not the issue. The issue is Mr. Romney's lack of sensable judgement. There are so many things that can and do go wrong that I would think he'd want a much loved pet within his view and protected from the unexpected road hazzards. Debris, insect stings and the launched rock can all have devistating consequences when there is no one to witness them and attend to those emergencies. As the species that is supposed to be intelligent we need to consider the total picture and assess the 'what if's' in making decisions for those who are in our care. In hind site Mr. Romney was fortunate and so was his dog that nothing happened. But explain to your children why their much loved pet is hurt or worse because of your thoughtless actions or are you one of those who is immune to acountability?

    June 29, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Glenda Fort Worth, Texas

    To EGS from Maryland!

    Speak for yourself EGS! Perhaps you need to get a clue! I beg to differ with you, the VAST MAJORITY DO TREAT THEIR PETS THE SAME AS THEIR KIDS! Why you ask? Because pets ARE part of the family! Now go crawl back in the hole you came out of and STAY THERE!

    June 29, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Jenny, Watertown, Massachusetts

    I am horrified not only at this type of behavior, but also at his callous response, and inability to see the error of his ways.

    This is cruelty to animals plain and simple. I truely hope, given this exposure it never happens again to that poor dog.

    June 29, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Not even Hillary would do that (and that is quite a low threshold of behavior).

    He's out.

    Guillermo – Omaha, NE

    June 29, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Kay Anthony, State College, PA

    I'm no big fan of PETA, but I do care about this. Its not about whether or not the dog enjoyed riding on the roof of the car, its about whether allowing him to do so is safe and responsible behavior. I'm sure anything thinking person would agree with me that it was neither safe nor responsible.

    June 29, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Meredith, Indianapolis IN

    PETA doesn't like you because you are inhumane...not because your dog "likes fresh air". So does my dog, but he rides IN THE CAR, not on top like luggage. If he likes the wind, open a window!

    June 29, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. David (Bronx, NY)

    yes, animals are living things as well and should be reasonably cared for if they are adopted by a family, BUT THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE AND SHOULD NOT BE EQUATED TO HUMAN BEINGS, EVEN IMPLYING THAT IS DUMB!

    June 29, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  15. Donna, San Francisco, CA

    What an idiot. His dog "enjoyed" it? I'm sure there are lots of children who also would enjoy riding on the top of a truck, that doesn't make it a good idea.

    June 29, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. MeatLover

    This is yet another example of PETA's misdirected causes. When will this organization start to research the facts before spouting off on something they know nothing about? The dog obviously enjoyed his perch and the ride. This is so trivial. Find something more important to needlessly whine about, PETA!

    June 29, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Wilma, Hampton Roads, VA

    Why in the world would someone bring up this issue 24 years later. How ridiculous. Someone obviously needs to get a life. There are so many bigger issues in this world that that time and energy could be spent on.

    June 29, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Martin, New England

    I'm from Massachusetts and no fan of Romney's policies, but he is a decent person. This PETA is just a lobbying group trying to get some press. They should stick to stories about really cruel behavior. This level of complaint makes them look like a bunch of cranks.

    By the way, in 1964 I saw the country from be back of an Impala wagon, which was steel lined. Times change, and what my parents did back then doesn't consititute child abouse today. It just doesn't, regardless of what some lobbying group says.

    June 29, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Anna Klitzka,Appleton,WI

    PETA has gotten "anal" over the years. Don't know who's running PETA but they certainly have their share of "fanatics"!!

    June 29, 2007 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  20. Mamie Watts - Beautiful Denver, Colorado

    Rommney...showing the same cocky, "I'm right, you are wrong" attitude of another Republican I can think of...yikes, verrrrry scary!

    Mr. Rommney, did the dog have access to water, was the sun hot in the cage (you can call it a crate, it is still a cage...) how many breaks did the doggie get - these are questions we do not know, and oh, did the animal have enought room to stand up and turn around, I sure hope so.

    I thank goodness for organizations such as PETA for trying to raise the general mentality about the suffering of animals in this country and beyond. Shame on the people that make fun of those that at least try.

    June 29, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  21. Julie

    Pets are not something we are obligated to have.. like an unexptected child..simply do not get pets if you don't want to or don't know how to take care of them.. I think this is awful, and thank god his kids did not have to see their dog splattered all over the highway.. a man that would do something like this does not have an ounce of compassion for a living being.. and certainly we do not and could not live on this planet alone.. so if Romney can not even take care of a dog.. and by the way, defecating and urinating all over themselves is how animals manifest severe stress.. so the dog was not happy.. I feel bad for the dog.. as they are prisoners in our home, get out when we let them, eat what we feed them.. we at least owe them dignified, proper care.. or don't get them.. simple as that, noone is forcing you!!

    June 29, 2007 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  22. Carl, Dallas, TX

    People are simply using the dog excuse as a reason to justify not voting for Romney because of his Mormon faith...

    As a child, I remember PETA ruining a concert for elementary kids in Dallas by passing out flyers with dead cats on them after they were skinned... lots of class in that group! But that doesn't mean this group is awful.. it's important, but some of the people in it jumped off the crazy train.

    Now I think that what he did is unacceptable to do to any animal, but you can't sit there and tell me that he is the ONLY candidate that has a past you may question or dislike. What's important is how they respond and be honest... like this man did. I only look at the policies and how well they have done prior to determine who I vote for... imagine that concept

    June 29, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. lydia, kewanee, Il. 61443

    I don't know who I will end up voting for right now. But I do know that I'd vote for a man that strapped his dog carrier on the car before I would vote for a man or woman who supports ILLEGAL ALIENS and not the American citizens! PETA and all it's supporters are ridiculous!

    June 29, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. Carl, the great normal STATE, "STATE OF MIND"

    I don't even like Mitt Romney, however, read on. What I find completely hilarious is we barely strapped in children to car seats in 1983. The fact that you have to go back to 1983 to dig something up on this guy...stretch it out and exaggerate it to a point I don't comprehend. An article like this makes me like him more because that's all they got? Please. I mean the dog is alive. I thought the dog died or something. I can't wait for the day we give cats and dogs voting rights but definitely not birds.

    June 29, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. John Tirrell, Boston Massachusetts

    Support movement to prevent Romney from placing dogs on top of cars – order your dog T-shirt today – http://www.cafepress.com/johntirrell.146001530

    June 29, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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