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. Carl, Dallas, TX

    Besides, how are we to judge what is cruel to the dog. Maybe from a safety standpoint, it was not wise, but then again, WE CANNOT INTERVIEW THE DOG. Maybe the dog absolutely loved it, or maybe the dog hated it.. we'll never know all the facts so we pass judgement on a man anyway... that's pathetic

    June 29, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Bruce Wilson, San Fransisco, CA

    The only thing this article makes me ponder is: what is CNN paying it's beat reporters? If the dem's are going to beat this guy, you better come up with something meaningful. This is so petty, it does more to damage CNN than Romney.

    June 29, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. S. Wilson. Flagler Beach, Florida

    Please have someone from PETA interview the dog and let's hear what he or she has to say that way we will know for sure!! Also is Ingrid (ignorant) Kirkland comparing a human child too a dog?? If so then we know where the problem is Houston!

    June 29, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Jon Blackman, Norman, OK

    I don't care in the least for Mit Romney, and I don't condone his carrying a dog on top of a car, but seriously folks you people need to give your head a shake. It took place in 1983–almost 25 years ago!
    To borrow a line from my 12 year old son, "Get a life!"

    June 29, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Beth R., Madison, WI

    So Brian "would gladly strap someone from PETA on the roof of my car for a 5 hour trip." No wonder the country has gotten so divisive. People say stupid crap like this all of the time and it demonstrates a complete lack of respect for other people. Undoubtedly he's be incapable of taking decent care of a dog.

    And by the way, having your dogs ride in the back of a pick-up truck is fine until you get into an accident, at which time your pets will not only be road kill, but their flying carcasses can kill the people in the car behind you. Still think it's a fun idea for the dogs?

    June 29, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Matt Miller, Yankton SD

    Why are people making such a big deal about it at this time, it's not going to change a thing. Yeah it was 20 some years ago when life was different. So he had his dog ride on the top, he isn't the first to do this and I've seen plenty in my days traveling. It is seen under today's standards as irresponsible and cruel but that wasn't the case back then. He cared enough to even make the dog a windshield, that is if there was one, much unlike what some people today do. Even so a dog is an animal, yes a loved one in the family but nevertheless an animal that is quite often put down for just being old. It's not like there are reports of him doing this kind of thing since the 1980s so maybe he wised up who knows but PETA is being pathetically desperate to think that bringing this up now will change what happened. History may repeat itself but time goes in a straight line so get over it people you can't change it. This has no relevance period.

    June 29, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Sean, Springfield VA

    I'd just like to throw out a couple points that popped into my head while reading all of these posts (which was a waste of my time, but I was bored). Please keep in mind this has nothing to do with WHO did it, I would say this if it was Hilary or Mitt, no diff.

    1) Dogs are important, I love mine and would treat it NEARLY as good as I would a child.

    2) A windshield was built for it, thus it was essentially like riding in a jeep with the soft top down (meaning open on all sides except the front). Should we stop people from doing that?

    3) Riding in that rack is SAFER than in the bed of a pickup truck...he can't jump out of the crate (and YES, it is a CRATE!).

    4) When you see people who have lost their luggage on the side of the road it's because their morons, I think he probably put a little more time into tying the crate down than he did the family socks.

    5) If it's so callous why did he take the time to build a custom crate w/ a windshield?

    6) How much room would the dog have had to sit, move around, stand up, etc in the middle of a crowded station wagon? It would have been relegated to the floor at best!

    Let it go, people...if you're so upset, then write him a letter stating your opinions CALMLY AND COHERENTLY. Calling him an idiot is pointless...do you think he's reading these posts to see what you think about him?

    Now, I'm going to go shoot some deer out of season from my pickup truck cab on my way to the rodeo 🙂 that was a joke, people

    June 29, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Wilma Simon-Jahn, Idyllwild CA

    Sounds like Romney is a hard-headed, self-indulgent, stubborn jerk, not unlike the present president. Who needs another one in the White House. Not my idea of a good person. Don't care who he is or how much money he has. That's all he cares about, it seems....again, not unlike the ones we have already in the White House

    June 29, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. Sam Pasadena, CA

    This society is petty. When you call someone an animal it is a derogatory term. Yet animals seem to have more importance sometimes than humans. The crimes against animals sometimes carry stiffer penlaties than crimes against humans. So why is everybody getting all aroused over an incident that happened over 20 years ago???

    If the dog always climed up there, then perhaps Mr. Romney just provided a safer way for the dog to do it.

    It's just an animal people, it's not like he strapped grandma on top of his car, oh wait, that's the Beverly Hillbillies...but that was "funny" right?

    June 29, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. etothez, boston, massachusetts

    The boston globe didn't treat the dog story as "dirt" - it was a small part of a weeklong series about mitt's rise. The story came across as though no one seemed to think that there was anything with strapping a dog to a roof and letting it crap all over your car while you drive for 12 hours. so it's not like PETA "dug" this story up - the boston globe had it as part of a section that talked about his "emotion-free crisis management" while being a "family man."

    June 29, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  11. Dogs Like Cars Not Roofs

    Yeah, PETA may be over-the-top in some instances, but what kind of idiot makes his dog take an east-coast trek on the roof of a car? Sounds almost as much fun as the dog from National Lampoon's Family Vacation had.

    June 29, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Arleen, Irvine, California

    How does he know he likes it up there. Poor dog has to travel in open air baggage because he has too many kids and there is no room for his family pet. Buy a bigger car.

    June 29, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. Lisa N. East Haven, CT

    I am outraged at the stupidity and rationization of this individual. My other thought, you must not care much about your animal at all to do something that stupid. No sane explaination could provide any solid reasoning. You were very wrong to do that.

    June 29, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Ben Dover, Wilmington, DE

    I bet if we let the dogs vote on it, they'd all be for riding on the back of our pickups with their heads and tongues blowing in the wind. HAS ANYONE ELSE EVER NOTICED THAT?

    June 29, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Barb, Syracuse, NY

    Why is this an issue. Hasn't anybody ever seen a dog scramble to stick its head out the window of a moving car?? As long as he was protected from the full force of the wind and was securely strapped down, why should anyone care?? I'm sure the dog LOVED it!!

    June 29, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Patti LaRocca, Charlotteville, New York

    You can judge a person's character by the way they treat children and animals, and Mitt was just eliminated from my list of potential people to vote for. By the way, what kind of a name is Mitt? Maybe it's short for Mittens, and his family really wanted a cat!

    June 29, 2007 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. R.J. Wells, Chantilly VA

    I love the posts from the droolers who say, "Dang, I was undecided about who to vote for but now that PETA has attacked poor ole Mitt, I'm gonna vote fer him!"

    What great logic. No wonder we get presidents like the current one.

    June 29, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. BethS. Candia, NH

    I myself would rather ride in a crate on top of a car roof than ride a car with Mitt Romney.

    June 29, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  19. Brett, Avon, Ohio

    who cares about his dog, and further who cares what he did in 1983, for crying out loud? The man's a loon anyway!

    June 29, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. John, South Bend, IN

    I’m sorry but this is ridiculous on PETA's part, I mean come on their complaining about something that happened 24 years ago to a dog that is long gone. These originations really need to grow up and find legitimate things to complain about!

    June 29, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  21. Brian, San Ramon, CA

    Even though Romney's actions were wrong, this issue and the article are antiquated and irrelevant. We [the media] need to focus more on informing voters rather than on entertaining them. 24 year old stories that have no bearing on an individual's ability to govern contribute to our society's ignorance, which is remarkably demonstrated in this list of comments. I am quite fearful of people who make voting decisions based on ruffling PETA's feathers (or ruffling the NRA to get the other side of the spectrum). It's no wonder politicians do not fear accountability and constantly spew double-speak – they have nothing to fear from an ignorant society.

    June 29, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  22. JF, Baltimore, MD

    I'm sorry...domesticated animals can "just run away" and survive in the wild? Why does it take so long for zoos to return ACTUAL wildlife to the wild?


    June 29, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  23. Denis, Orangeville, ON

    OK, PETA officially has too much time on it's hands. I personally think they come up with these trivial objections just to get their name on CNN.

    June 29, 2007 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  24. Leeser

    For those of you with your panties in a wad over this, I don't recall anything saying that the dog's carrier was facing into the wind...and as someone else said, there is no way a station wagon is going to travel for 12 hours without stopping to fuel up.

    In regard to dogs riding in the backs of trucks, it has only been in recent years that laws mandating tie-downs or crates have come into existence. I'm sure that would not have been the case 24 years ago.

    And for the religious bigot who has issues with a Mormon being elected to the Presidency - I will vote for whomever I choose, regardless of their faith - I'm going to vote for the candidate who best represents my views. I seem to recall that some people had kittens over John F Kennedy being Roman Catholic - but he was still voted into office.

    I'm not going to judge Romney by his actions 24 years ago. People didn't seem to hold the Shrub's own history of alcoholism against him during his own presidential run.

    And as far as PETA is concerned, you may wish to take a look at their own history. You can find information on this "caring" group at http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

    June 29, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  25. Connie Styer, Kenner, La.

    You should NEVER strap an animal to a moving car. What do you think would happen if you had an accident & your "pet" went flying?!! Shame on you.
    What are you teaching your children? It's OK not to care about the wellfare of their pets, God forbid they have any more.

    June 29, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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