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. Kim, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    This is so ridiculous!
    I say as long as the dog isn't attached to a leash through the car window, and being dragged, i.e., like the little man figure "Napoleon Dynamite" threw out the bus window, PETA should seek more meaningful issues to talk about!

    June 29, 2007 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  2. Tammy, Chicago

    Seriously, this man lies, abuses animals and who-knows whatelse, and claims to be religious! IF he wins the nomination, I will be convinced this country has gone to hell.

    June 29, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Q, SLC, UT

    If this is all we can find on this guy as to why he should not be President than I think my vote will go to him. All of the other Rep. Canidates are defending multiple divorces and adultry charges and all we can find on this guy is that he let his dog ride on top of the car. This was almost 25 years ago, most cars didn't even have shoulder straps on thier seat belts, so I am sure there we not any fancy doggie harnesses to keep a silly dog in the back seat next to the other kids. I think any one that spends money on a doggie seat belt needs to have thier head examined. Its a dog people not a child. I do not think it is ok to beat an animal but some people should be beat for over treating an animal. If it were not for human interaction, these animails would be out in the woods eating raw meat and being eaten by the next level of the food chain. I love my dog but she is not part of the family. She is a pet.

    June 29, 2007 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Leyla Semenov, Fort Lauderdale, FL

    If one can impose a pet to such a danger, one would not care for human life as well. I think that Mitt Rodney's ambisions to become the next President should be over. He can examplify himself to his own children.
    Pretty pathetic if you think...

    June 29, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Lisa Smith, Atlanta, Georgia

    Romney is just not a very bright man. Anyone with a moderate amount of intelligence knows that it's the same for children as with pets–you can't let them do everything they want, because some things are just plain unsafe.
    You don't let kids ride in the back of a pick up truck, and you don't let a dog ride on top of a car, etc.-just b/c they want to do it. Someone needs to use a brain! Maybe Romney will let his dog decide how he feels about the war, global warming, and healthcare. Sheesh!

    June 29, 2007 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  6. Steven McAfee Richardson, TX

    Romney is obviously unthinking, cruel, arrogant human. He thinks his dog likes fresh air? At 70mph? Romney stance on putting his dog on the roof is amazing uncompassiate for other living entities. Not a good trait for a president.

    June 29, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. T.Green, Kalamazoo,Mich

    Why would anyone want him for president anyway, his relative George Romney used to be Governor of Michigan and was worthless.

    June 29, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  8. John Thomas, Detroit MI

    If elected I think he will strap us all to a car roof!

    How stupid can they get...wait don't answer that...

    June 29, 2007 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Susan, Rowley, MA

    My God people! This isn't about PETA. His son was the one to open up and tell everyone the story.

    I'm not for PETA and I think that they're ridiculous, but the fact that he was callous enough to make such a stupid move makes me realize that he's a moron.

    And being that I'm from Mass., I have more experience with his moronic behavior and attitude.

    The guy's a loser.

    June 29, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    The man is a menace.

    June 29, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Lisa, Philadelphia, PA

    Doesn't matter if it was 25 years ago or 25 days ago. What it says to me is that you have someone who would not be for animal rights. Animals are living breathing creatures. Did we forget that? Tell me he will strap one of these sex offenders on his roof and drive that far..and then and only then will he get my vote!!

    June 29, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. L. Smith, Atlanta, Georgia

    This event happened repeatedly, NOT just once in 1983. Ahem, Romney said that this was the routine for many of their family vacations.

    He simply has poor judgment. God help us, if this guy becomes the Republican presidential candidate.

    June 29, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Ben Stephens, Lisle, IL

    Perhaps the dog would have been better off in the car left to suffocate in a cage with the windows rolled up when they stopped to eat or fuel up. He obviously liked to get in the cage and probably enjoyed the fresh air, just as Romney said. I love dogs, and don't see a problem with what he did. The reason PETA is bringing it up now is because in 1983, it wouldn't have been considered a problem. I was 12 years old and that's when we drank from the same soda pop bottle as 5 of our friends and didn't care, we actually played played sports and got exercise instead of playing video games all day, and I got spanked for doing something wrong. I didn't do it again because I knew what the outcome would be. There were also no "time outs" or "negotiating" with parents.

    Regardless, he has my vote now that I know PETA is against him.

    June 29, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Lisa Keenan, South Portland, ME

    You may not like PETA, but they've got a point-if Mitt Romney cannot be trusted to take care of his dog properly, then how can he be trusted to be responsible with nukes and terrorist threats? Just another excuse NOT to vote for him, as if you needed one.

    Even George Bush wouldn't do something as ignorant as strap his dog to the top of a moving car.

    June 29, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Joe, Millville, NJ

    It's hilarious that liberals care more about the welfare of animals than aborted human lives..

    June 29, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. Dave Ryan, Phoenix, AZ

    Makes me question why CNN would give PETA air time? They are just another fringe group that seeks attention by attacking good people.

    June 29, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. Tom, Portland, OR

    Leave it to a mainstream media outlet like CNN to make this about one group who complained (a group they can use to make anti-Romney, anti-cruelty people look bad) and not about Romney's cruel actions. I'm sure the perspective would have been different had it been a Dem candidate who did this, not that any of them would be that cruel.

    And leave it to the stereotypical hateful idiot commentators to like Romney better than before or vote for him simply because PETA (or even other more mainstream animal lovers)are against him. The politics of division and spite got us in the bad situation we are in today. Let's not continue that.

    June 29, 2007 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. Brian

    If you have to go back 24 years to 1984 to dig dirt from a guy and you can only find out that he traveled with his dog on with windshild kennel on the top of his car during a vacation, and that's the best you can find, then your pretty pathetic, and he's pretty untainted. A report like this makes his Anti-Romney's look so dumb.

    June 29, 2007 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  19. Chris, Bettendorf, IA

    I see dogs in the back of pick-up trucks all the time. What is the diffrence if its in the bed of a pick-up or in a kennel attached to the roof of the car? Also PETA you can come over to my house and I can tell you a story for every deer head on my wall. I bet I get a letter on this.

    June 29, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  20. Boo, Philadelphia, PA

    I beg to differ with the comment on top. Animal rights and cruelty to animals is newsworthy. And would be an agenda in office.

    June 29, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  21. Linda Ackerson, Omaha, NE

    How cruel. I would never vote for anyone with such poor judgement. He's lost my support.

    June 29, 2007 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Rebecca, Columbus Ohio

    As a parent, Governor Romney should have enough common sense to know that what children, and this case, pets enjoy doing, may not necessary be a safe act. It is up to us, as responsible parents, to make sound judgement at times to protect their safety and the safety of others. Just like we would not let our children drive recklessly or under the influence of alcohol even if they "enjoy" the thrill of it, Governor Romney should never have let his dog travel in a manner that may endanger himself or the safety of other drivers. The only family "pet" for an individual who has shown such a lack of judgement is a mechanical one. For someone who has such high regards for family value, I am truly disappointed with his naive and ignorant comment.

    June 29, 2007 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Patricia Busse Kenosha WI

    1983??? If PETA wants to be taken seriously then they need to make their "issues" more timely!

    June 29, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  24. Mike, Chicago


    And, anyone who has a dog knows Mitt is lying anyway.

    June 29, 2007 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. Brad, La Verne CA

    Wow, That is all the dirt the Boston Globe can dig up?? A dog story from 1983?? and it makes the CNN headlines on the web. Romney has my vote. Maybe the Boston Globe should concentrate on the dirt of the other candidates. Some good stuff there.

    June 29, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
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