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. John Chamberlain

    Romney revels his idiocy every time he speaks. Romney doesn't realize that he doesn't need to go out and kill creatures since even Utah have grocery stores packed with slaughtered animals who end up in the trash. He's (Romney) just another Cheney with a different mask, Americans have had enough of the same OLD mentality.

    June 29, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  2. Quinn, Washington, DC

    I can't believe a mormon seriously could be considered for president. Especially someone with no common sense. Who puts a dog on the roof of their car? Who cares what PETA says, oh my god, what an idiot.

    June 29, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Nicolle, Vail, Colorado

    I'm sorry...who the hell straps their DOG to the roof of their car??? That's so weird and wrong. This guy is bizarro.

    June 29, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. M.K., Chicago, IL

    Ok, so the story is old, not about politics, and I'm not a fan of PETA. But drive your dog around in a carrier on the roof of your car, who the heck does that?

    June 29, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  5. MF, Germantown, MD

    Whether 20 years ago or yesterday, strapping the dog to the roof of the car is WRONG and CRUEL. I'd like to strap Mr. Romney on the roof of the car for 12 hours and see how much fresh air he would enjoy. I will never vote for him and or anyone like him. I am disgusted with his actions and his family for allowing it to happen.

    June 29, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Chris Raleigh NC

    Honestly, this happened over 20years ago. If they have to go this far back in order to gather any dirt on Gov Romney I think that says a lot for him. I don't understand how you people that work with PETA or think like them can exist. You have the right to think as you may, but please use some logical reasoning. Someone said that "PETA helps those who can't help themselves." Statements such as this show your ignorance. So what did animals do before becoming domesticated? Were you there to protect their rights? Even now that they are domesticated they can run away and survive perfectly fine. THEY ARE ANIMALS NOT HUMANS. It doesn't take an ivy league education to figure that out.

    June 29, 2007 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. Cindy Cafaro, Boone, N.C

    While I do not always agree with PETA, in this case I am in PERFECT AGREEMENT with them! I have worked with Humane Societies in 4 states and I have owned dogs my whole 48 years on this earth. Many of my dogs have shown "quirky" behavior but just because they "seem" to enjoy some things does not mean that you let them do it. Especially if it could be harmful to them, and I think this is a "no brainer"!!! They are like children...we have to love and protect them! The Dachshund(Jean-Luc)that "owns" me now is treated just like a child. He owns my heart and I would NEVER allow him to engage in dangerous behavior! Thank you for publishing this article...I certainly know who NOT to trust!!! Cindy C.

    June 29, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Who cares that PETA is involved. This guy Mitt just sounds ludacris! Who would be so idiotic?

    June 29, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  9. Kate, Minneapolis MN

    Seriously, don't we have more important things to be worrying about in this world than whether Mr. Romney transported his dog in a safe manner 24 years ago? I am sure even the family dog is laughing at the story all the way from doggie heaven....

    June 29, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Danielle, Albuquerque, NM

    Is that it?!?!? That's all they've got on him?!?!? Putting his dog in a carrier to ride on the top of his car TWENTY-FOUR years ago is something we need to worry about NOW?!?!? Come on, people! PETA must be coming pretty close to completely useless if they're using this as their latest soapbox!

    June 29, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. ManiTodd, Fort Mill SC

    If Romney is elected, Air Force One is going to look awfully silly with a dog carrier strapped to the roof.

    In all seriousness, I'm a dog lover and all for protection and care for animals, so I don't think this is really a good idea. That being said, I think PETA stinks. The idea behind them might be good, but their antics over the years are insane. They are a terrible organization.

    June 29, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Chris Raliegh NC

    "I can’t believe a mormon seriously could be considered for president. Especially someone with no common sense. Who puts a dog on the roof of their car? Who cares what PETA says, oh my god, what an idiot."

    Posted By Quinn, Washington, DC : June 29, 2007 2:13 pm

    Wow, nice bigotry. I personally can't believe people like you believe in the constitution. Maybe you should go somewhere without freedom of religion. Please don't forget the many who fought and died, those who worked and sacrificed to build this country and allow us Relgious TOLERANCE. We are all entitled to believe as we may.

    June 29, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Brad, Roy UT

    I don't know if I would ever vote for this guy, but a dog's a dog people. Anyone comparing them to people is just off their rocker. Also being slammed by a group that funds terrorism is probably a good thing for any American.

    June 29, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Chris, Carlsbad, CA

    Non-issue; happened in 1983...I'm sure we have all done dumb things since then.

    And what is this nonsense about him driving 12 hours without stopping to let the dog relieve himself? Come on people – you cant drive 12 hours straight on a tank of gas and anyone with a car full of kids can testify they need to stop every few hours for their own bio-breaks. Someone has an ax to grind and is blantantly trying to stir the pot needlessly. Think about it...

    June 29, 2007 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Whitney, New York, NY

    Fresh air is letting your dog out for a run. Not being strapped to a car and getting 50mph worth of it! As soon as Romney rides up there for twelve hours (ever though he's bigger and it would be easier and less cruel for him), then we will believe him about the fresh air. My message to Romney- take the ride yourself or deal with the consequences for such a bad, inconsiderate, cruel, and irresponsible decision. Do we really want someone who cannot even treat a dog well to be responsible for the treatment of millions of people and leading the United States and the vast amount of others the US President affects?

    I say: If you can't handle caring for a dog you can't handle caring for the country.

    June 29, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Rachel, Santa Ana, CA

    Ignore the fact that this is PETA making the statement - we all know that their whackjobs. The fact is, Romney strapped the dog to the top of his car, stated "We're going 12 hours straight with no stops!" and then left the frightened dog up there until it shat itself and poop ran down the back of the car. He then hoses the dog off, and leaves him on the top of the car, to continue to be frightened. Sounds like a great person, huh? Someone I sure want to vote for.

    June 29, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. JRC, Layton, UT

    First of all this might be quite lengthy. But this whole story and comments are the most pathetic thing that I have read. I can't believe that I wasted my time reading it all.
    Anyhow, I believe that a human and an animal are not equal (even though they are both living). How many of you would have a difficult time deciding between your kid or your pet if they where both in danger. I would hope you would all say your kid without a second thought. This would mean that you pet is expendable or not as equal in importance as your kid. So to compare the dog to a human is a ridiculous argument. I still believe in the humane treatment of animals but I really don't see the difference between a roof top carrier, a back of a truck, or a luggage compartment on an airplane. They all are treating a pet as luggage. Whether they like it or not we’ll never know so if where going to give romney a hard time for this than we better get on the wagon and yell at everyone who travels with their pets in the truck or luggage compartment on a plane. On top of that we should probably get mad at those who leave their pets at home for hours or days on end all by themselves. Pets have survived in the wild far longer than you or I. They are strong living creatures. A little ride in a protected carrier or in the back of a truck or as luggage on a plane or staying home by themselves for a day or two is not going to harm them. All this crap about a pet being more than a pet is ridiculous. All those who put sweaters on them so they don’t freeze or feed them human food or teach them to not lick their butts or use toilets or on and on are just all out right idiotic. Again they survived without these things for centuries and they will continue to live without them for centuries without them. In fact those kind of things probably stress them out more than anything, they are not sure if they are an animal/pet or a human. Just think before all this crap they knew they were a dog or a cat or whatever. Now they are not sure!!!

    June 29, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Steve, Boston, MA

    > “If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog,”

    This is the great fallacy of PETA and its followers: Equating animals with people. There IS an order to dignity. I hope to teach my child math, the piano, and logic. During this time, if I have a dog, it will chew its bone outside in the yard where it belongs. See the difference.

    June 29, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Dog Lover, Orlando Florida

    It may have happened over 20 years ago, but his attitude is the same. He's an ass. I don't support PETA, but they are dead on.

    By the way, it's illegal in most states to have that dog in the open back of your truck and it's EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. So, you are all morons, too, apparently.

    It's the attitude he still has about it today that matters. For some of us who can't have kids, our dogs are like children to us. But besides that, they are LIVE BEINGS that should be treated with respect.

    And, yes, I totally thought about National Lampoon's Vacation lol

    June 29, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Carl, Dallas, TX...

    Anyone remember stories from your parents (or better yet you) about how when they were little, they bounced around without seatbelts in a car going 80 mph? So if we find out that Hilary Clinton did this to Chelsea on car trips, are we going to tear her a new one??? No way... lay off and until Romney did something illegal or has a horrible stance on something, come talk to me

    June 29, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Julie G, Seattle, WA

    What an idiot. I hope someone straps him to the top of his car so he can "enjoy" that kind of ride too.

    June 29, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. MJW, Indianapolis, IN

    PETA is a joke! "If you wouldn't strap your child to the roof...." is an absolutely ridiculous statement. It is a dog, not a human being. I am not in favor of animal cruelty, however a child is far more precious than a dog.

    June 29, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  23. dan, carson city NV

    That dog was lucky. What a fun ride.

    And give me a break people, people sit on motorcycles everyday and go 100mph. Go get them first before you after a guy whose dog WANTED to ride on top of a vehicle like that.

    Oh yeah, 25 years ago too.

    June 29, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. Justin Baker, Sooke B.C.

    “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.”

    Well, I dont lock my kids in a cage, does this mean that I cant put my dog in his kennel??

    June 29, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. mt, B.R., La.

    How can you write this off because it happened in 1983. Yes, I did some stupid things in the past. But I accept responsibility for those actions. I don't act like what I did was right.

    That's what strikes me about this story. Romney wasn't a child. He was a mature adult. And what he did seems outrageous to me. Stapping a dog kennel to the roof of a car?? And it didn't say he went 12 hours without stopping. It said the dog pooped and peed all over the car, and Romney had to clean up the car when he stopped for gas!!

    This was way wrong. And it's a sign of Romney's lack of principle that he would try to make political hay by criticizing PETA rather than admitted he did something stupid.

    June 29, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
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