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. Daphne Blue

    I dislike this candidates downplay and condescention of PETA as over reactionary. Dogs that are unproperly restrained in the back of vehicles, on top etc... die every year. I have never heard of a "rooftop carrier". They are not made specific to roof tops to the best of my knowledge (I have 2 dogs). If he, and its obvious he doesnt, care about the dog, what about the safety of the other drivers. Such a contraption could, most likely come loose on the highway and cause a wreck. He will NOT be getting my vote.

    June 29, 2007 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. PJ Simpson Williamsburg, VA

    PETA is upset about something that happened in 1983? I am as big an animal lover is there is and if the dog liked it, and it was safe, what's the problem. Is there nothing more current for them to complain about?

    June 29, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Matt, Tifton, GA

    I planned and I thought I was safe. But they got me again. I thought PETA would never waste my time again, but I was wrong.

    June 29, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. John Kelly, Alexandria, VA

    This is, of course, overblown, but here we are. My question is this: how the hell does a dog "scramble" up into a dog crate on the top of a big station wagon? Jump on the front hood, climb up the windshield? It must have been a heck of a dog if he could jump up the 5' feet or so from the back side of the car....sounds like he's lying.....

    June 29, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Santa Rosa, Ca

    Cruelty to animals........proceeds and accepts cruelty to children and women. "A culture is judged by how it treats it's animls and women and children." Ghandi

    This Guy is an Idiot.

    June 29, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. H.Toutatis Hollywood CA.

    We've lost another war, there aren't any jobs, we're w/o healthcare, our public schools are failing us and Social Security is in jeopardy. Who gives a S#@T about something that happened over 3 "Dog Years" ago !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 29, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Mitch, Enid Oklahoma

    PETA is juat a waste of time.

    June 29, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Bunny, Annapolis, MD

    He wouldn't have gotten my vote anyway. Wow, the ignorance of some people is not to be believed.

    June 29, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Frank

    It's funny how a dog that is in a special carrier is considered to be at risk. In the mean time, driving with your dog jumping and blocking visibility while you drive is ok. Once I saw a tiny Chihuahua pancake on I-10. Do you think the little pooch was riding in a carrier on top of the car?

    June 29, 2007 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Kat, Chicago, Il

    I have a son. He is 10. He loves to ride in the back of his father's pickup. I won't let him. He has crawled on top of the pickup. I am sure he would "love it" to ride up there – if he had a windshield. I won't let him.

    Get real people – it is not about if the dog "enjoys it." So many people say their pets are a part of the family, then think – would you put a family member up there if they "enjoyed it?"

    I am not a PETA member, but I stand for the SAFETY of animals. Think about it – and be reasonable – PLEASE!

    June 29, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. WJ Hawkins

    If PETA endorsed Romney I wouldn't endorse him – so there!

    June 29, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. Emily, Washington DC

    While I must agree with many people who posted that PETA needs to find something worthwhile to do,I am absolutly amazed with Americans like myself who have nothing better to do than find ourselves absorbed by this article. There have been 108 comments in a little over an hour and some people have serious opinions. If we want to view this as light relaxing news, that is fine, and something needed during war time, but if we are going to not vote for a president because he straped his dog to the roof 25 years ago, it is time to become educated on what really matters. The way I see it, if all we can find on Romney is something from PETA that happened before I was even born Romney just might be my guy.

    June 29, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. Francesca, MD

    Romney broke the law. It's illegal in MA to drive with a dog in the bed of a pickup – or on the outside of any vehicle.

    (Not that doing something illegal ever stopped someone from running for office – it's practically a requirement. Nor has it ever stopped people from voting for that candidate).

    Plus, it's just really stupid. It's like saying, my 6 mo. old baby really loves the fresh breeze, so I'm going to strap his/her car seat to the roof of my car. I'm not pro-PETA, but he did consciously endanger another living being.

    June 29, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. Robert, Edwards AFB CA

    What type of magic car drives for 12 hours without needing to stop for gas?

    This "story" is rediculous, and the fact that its on CNN is even moreso.

    June 29, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  15. C M, Boise, ID

    Never mind the dog….I want a full account of the number of bugs that Mitt uncaringly killed with his automobile on that family vacation. Surely PETA and the animal lovers on this thread would consider this murderous act far more telling of a person’s judgment. Or would that be too hypocritical for you animal-loving car owners who swat flies and slap mosquitoes?

    I’m sure CNN will give equal coverage for the time Hillary successfully set a mouse trap or Obama pulled of his shoe and smashed a spider.

    June 29, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. AreYouKidding? Washington, DC

    The fact of the matter is that regardless of when this happened, it points to someone with little common sense. So what if the dog appeared to like it? My dogs would like to eat a bag of sugar, but I'm not going to let them. And the difference between strapping an animal to the top of a car and placing that animal in a holder in an airplane is that the airplane ride is infinitely safer than the car ride. To those of you who ride around with your animals unsecured, either in your car or the back of your truck, I pray you are never involved in an accident and witness the suffering of your animal.

    June 29, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  17. Dali, Bonsack VA

    I have no words that can be printed here to say how cruel I feel this is. Then, say the dog enjoyed it. To teach your children it's OK to treat "dumb animals" this way. Who is dumb here? We're placed here to care for the least of us. Heartless. For shame.

    June 29, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. kyle, st louis missouri

    as an owner of an irish setter i completely agree with this mode of transportation!

    June 29, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  19. Fran Pittsburgh pa

    Someone who violates animal cruelty laws and exercises extremely poor judgment lack proper judgment to be President.

    June 29, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. Sarah Omaha, NE

    What a waste of space.
    This is why politics has become a joke. The media paying attention to stupid quips on the personal lives of politicians.

    June 29, 2007 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  21. Chris Johnson, Olympia WA


    One word: Motorcycles.

    3 Words:
    People on MOTORCYCLES.

    A few more words: Parents with their kids with them on a motorcycle. Legal. It's summer, you see them all the time.

    And lastly,

    the dog was safer than any person on a motorcycle.

    But this has been fun-reading the comments.

    btw, thanks to the person who pointed out "motorcycles" in his comment before mine.

    And to the moron who has an issue with Mitt being a "mormon", your KKK white sheet and pointy hat are ready for you at the laundromat.

    You'll want to have them for this weekend's cross burning at that Jewish guy's house. People like you turn my stomach.

    June 29, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Krista W., North Carolin

    Who cares if PETA is after Romney...this doesn't make this idiots action right! Very improper and cruel treatment!

    June 29, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Aaron, Boston MA

    While I find almost everything Mitt Romney does or says hollow and ridiculous, this story certainly does not stand out as one of his greater personal shortcomings. As voters, every citizen should take a very close look at his record in Massachusetts. After 15 minutes, you'll find that he was either ineffective, non-existent, or completely detached from reality. Education suffered from tremendous setbacks during his brief tenure, mental health care funding plummeted, roads and public transportation fell into disrepair violent crime increased, and service fees became a surrogate for increasing taxes. Regardless of your personal political beliefs, it is this kind of record which should give any voter pause in selecting this man as the next POTUS.

    June 29, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  24. Ed Johnson

    Wow. Over 100 comments and not one actually gets to the main problem.

    The ENTIRE CONCEPT of strapping a living thing to the roof an automobile with some kind of temporary attachments is simply inconceivable to a person with an ounce of common sense. Forget PETA, Pickup Trucks, your childhood, etc.

    If the car was in an accident (or even manuvering to avoid one), his jury-rigged pet carried could come loose and kill or injure the pet or a human. Can you say GIANT LIABILITY?

    The entire idea was an is unbelievably stupid. I can't believe anyone would actually consider doing it for real.

    Here's your first clue, do a quick search and find all of the certified and tested vehicle rooftop pet carriers for sale... yeah, though so.

    You can lock the comments now. You're welcome.

    June 29, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Matt Miller, Yankton SD

    Wow my hat's off to you people. You've turned an non-issue into oh wait it's still a NON-ISSUE!! This thing is being blown out of proportion turning the presidential race into an even bigger popularity contest than it already is. Don't you think there are a few more pressing matters that we should be looking into rather than how someone transported their pet 24 years ago. Why are we listening to a second-rate motivational group anyways? I thinks it's time we just said PETA we care but we don't care so shut up. Talk to the people who are doing it and leave the rest of us out.
    This country is going downhill if we see a headline like, "Deplorable Pet Transportation Leaves Presidency In Question." and you know somewhere there will be something along those lines. Hmm pet, presidency , pet, presidency... well besides the 'P' I really don't see the connection so am I missing the boat or is everyone else just flailing around in the water acting like they are in a boat.

    June 29, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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