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Mitt Romney’s Cruel Vacation

Written by PETA | June 28, 2007
Slate/Creative Commons

Did you happen to see this Boston Globe story about Mitt Romney? The reporter opened the piece with a Romney family story about Mitt strapping the family’s Irish Setter, Seamus, to the roof of his station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario. When the terrified dog lost control of his bowels and his waste covered the roof and back window of the car, Romney apparently calmly pulled over and simply sprayed the car—and the dog—down with a hose and hopped back on the highway.

Unfortunately, there is no punch line; I am not kidding. The reporter thought this was a fine example of Romney’s “emotion-free crisis management” style, but who knows. Here’s what PETA’s president, Ingrid Newkirk said to an enquiring press:

“First, as a charity we can’t and don’t endorse or oppose any candidate for public office, but I can say (and not just as a person who grew up with an Irish Setter!) that any individual who does something like that may have what scientists term the absence of the mirror neuron, i.e., a pin-pointable absence in the brain of the characteristic which allows the individual to feel basic compassion. The implications are frightening. Anyone who suspects that they are not able to feel empathy for others needs to be aware of the existence of this condition. What is also worrying is that Mr. Romney seems to hold the very old fashioned idea that he needs to actively show he is heartless, hence the hunting claims he has made. Not subsistence hunting, but pride in killing defenseless animals for sport, for fun, for show. In the case of the dog on the roof of the car, if this is true, quite remarkably it obviously wasn’t for show as only his own children were watching, a lesson in cruelty that was also wrong for them to witness. There was also the obviousness of the situation. Thinking of the wind, the weather, the speed, the vulnerability, the isolation on the roof, it is commonsense that any dog who’s under extreme stress might show that stress by losing control of his bowels: that alone should have been sufficient indication that the dog was, basically, being tortured. If you wouldn’t strap your child to the roof of your car, you have no business doing that to the family dog! I don’t know who would find that acceptable. Mr. Romney needs to tell the world he realizes this was not humane. People do stupid things and one day realize it, so better late than never.”

Thanks to Ana Marie Cox, founder of Wonkette, now’s Washington Editor, for noticing the story on and jumping on it.

Commenting is closed.
  • J.Boots says:

    Not only did they torture their dog..but also drugged their “lame” horse to sell it. I truly believe these two are pure evil & lack compassion for any living thing. Please look it up Ann Romney’s Horse Lawsuit-Over Drugging a Lame Horse to Sell It PETA can you please post something about this other than an article….Use that huge billboard above your offices in Echo Park…Btw we all know Paul McCartney is a vegetarian already. I’m just Saying!

  • James says:

    That’s freaking hilarious!

  • S.Q. says:

    Is this a true story? Because if it is I don’t see why a safe dog crate inside the car was not an option for this man. Did his family try to stop him? Or do they have a cruel or maybe just stupid mentality like him?

  • patti says:

    I wish someone else other than just TMZ picked up this story and put it on the news. Why didn’t CNN or FOX bring this up in interviews discussing politics. I feel Romneys judgement is relevant to whether he is qualified to be president. His judgement is totally off on that incident with his dog. I can’t believe he was not charged with something criminal at the time. Too bad statute of limitations has run out.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’m suprised no one has started a petition to punish and fine him for doing this. Is Peta doing nothing?

  • katie says:

    Personally i think that you’re all blowing this out of control. first of all saying that he “lost your vote” implies that you had planned to vote for him in the first place which you probably did not. Secondly this man stands no chance of becoming president. The race is pretty much between Hilary and Rudy. Of course we have a few more primaries to wait out before we can be sure. But from a Michigander’s point of view it looks like this one’s gone to Hilary. So forget all the stupid crap you’ve heard about the others and concentrate on who you ARE going to vote for. And if you DON’T vote then shame on you and shut your face.

  • Corrine and Terry says:

    I can’t believe that I just heard this story on TMZ tonight for the first time!!!!! I came to PETA to check it out because I knew I would get the truth.What can I possibly say about a monster like this except that I never planned on voting for you to begin with but after hearing this there’s not a snowballs chance in hell. To do this to an innocent animal especially one who looks to you every single day for the minimal essentials just to survive. My heart breaks to think what this precious Irish Setter endures on a daily basis. Shame on you Mitt Romney you are a disgrace to the whole human race.

  • Eric A says:

    This story about Romney isn’t surprisingafter all he IS a Mormon. I investigated that “cult” and yes it IS a cult. Women are secondclass citizens whose purpose in life is to bear children and serve their man. They all wear “special” underwear called “celestial undergarments” with goofy symbols over the private parts to remind them not to touch that and believe that when they die they will become Gods themselves with their own little planet to rule over. It’s no stretch to think that a man who believes this garbage would strap a dog to the roof of his car. Does any reasonable person want this nutjob to have his finger on the nuclear button?

  • Tricia Stumpf says:

    I can’t believe that I’m going to say this but this idiot makes Bush not look so bad! Is this a joke? I would say that I am horrified but nothing anymore surprises me. When will the day come that all of the horrible humans leave our earth and are replaced with beautiful animals!!!

  • Daedalus says:

    The WSJ got it right. Why didn’t he put the luggage on top of the car? Then things only could get worse after he hosed down the dog. With those winds Seamus must have been freezing. Is this the Clark Griswold of American politics?

  • Margarita Cisne says:

    I think that that guy Mitt is a piece of shit. I guess perhaps like they say that’s how hunter carry their hunt. But it shows little common sense and compasion for animals.

  • herman greenstein says:

    I guess that’s right. We are no longer evolving. Just look at that WAR IN THE CRADLE OF CIVILIZATIONMesopotamiaIraq! Let’s strap Mr. Romney like that story about his car trip and see how that bastard feels. And come to think of it let’s help both sides in the NEXT Middle East war looks likes its agonna’ come just like IranIraq. Lots of money in it eh? Didn’t we help Saddam Hussein gas his own people?

  • Xavier says:

    “you are a prime example of how humans are regressing and no longer evolving.” I pity for your science teachers.

  • Kelly says:

    What a cruel and horrible person. Years later or not this example shows how little he cares about animals. I hope he isn’t allowed to own one now. And how can anyone posting comments try to justify what he did? And some idiot tried to defend him by saying God put animals here for food. True but He didn’t create them to be tortured by stronger beings.

  • Michele says:

    John the people on this site do not need to “get a life” they are trying to save lives human and nonhuman animals alike. Stop trying to be so superior you are a prime example of how humans are regressing and no longer evolving. People who cannot be responsible pet owners should simply not ever own pets. EVER. Just like people who cannot be responsible parents should never raise children.

  • John says:

    Get a life people it is just a dog not a child! Would it have been better to board the dog in a Kennel? or as he did bring the dog on vacation to interact with the children for two weeks?

  • Stephanie Humphries says:

    Yeah not much character in anyone who is a public official these days. Why don’t we make a change?

  • Michele says:

    What an awful awful person. Anyone who wants to do these sorts of things should have to go through it themselves first so I’m pretty sure Mitt Romney would not be strapping himself to the roof of a car anytime soon.

  • Heather says:

    He did WHAT? Am I the only one who’s thinking “fines”? Something! It’s one thing to eat animal and a completely different thing to strap a family pet to the roof of a car and drive. Unbelievable!

  • John says:

    Get a life people! It is just a dog not a child. Animals were created by God for people to use as food burden companionship. Romney showed his compassion by bringing the dog on vacation instead of boarding him in a Kennel.

  • Paula says:

    I’m speechless which doesn’t happen often. What was he thinking as he put his dog in the box on top of his car. He had to have stared it in the face. Was the dog happy? ANd as he drove and as his car gained speed did he think to himself..”There is a living creature in a cage on top of my roof. What would hapen if the box fell off or is the animal getting enough air or What the F$K is wrong with me.

  • Helen says:

    Well after reading this I know not to vote for him. Him and Michael Moore have a lot in common. Such cruelty to a helpless animals being caged up on a twelve 12 hour drive. Disgusting!!!

  • Sharon Houston says:

    I think that Atia July 6said it so well! I would add though that these people who exploit their lack of respect for animals or who actively abuseneglect them should be held accountable exposed and if possible charged with a crime. It doesn’t matter whether they are a politician or wealthy or just regular folkshow can such cruelty be ignored or even condoned? I would like to see more public outcry from those who see what is happening to our nonhuman animal friends! They are the voiceless victims of human cruelty.

  • Carol says:

    Arrogant SOB. Let’s just call him “No Where Man”…because that is just where he is going. No where. He’s done for. I refuse to consider voting for him and he solidified my thinking about the Mormon religion. What a burned out whacko.

  • Laura says:

    I am shocked by this man’s Mitt lack of education morals and compassion. I agree that this posting should not become a political grandstand and that everyone is individual in their beliefs religion and politics and should not be generalized. I would hope PETA or AntiCruelty would file charges against this man since it is a part of public record by being published in the newspaper. Maybe if he has to pay for his actions he may change his behavior. The man definitely needs to be educated though I don’t know if he can learn empathy or compassion being who he is. Though it wouldn’t hurt to try. Miracles do happen. Someone has to give a voice and speak up for the poor defenseless animals that can’t defend themselves. P.S. Shame on Katie for saying that dog’s belong on top of cars not in them maybe that’s where you belong.

  • Kristi Carpenter says:

    My father is a republican as well as an avid animal lover. Myself and my family volunteer for the spca Animal Aid and local free animal clinics. I think it’s unfair to blame political affinity for the cruelty of animals. The performance of this man is obviously attrocious…and unforgivable. I think we should stop blaming political personal sexual racial whatever affiliations for this kind of attrocity and recognize it as individual. Some people are scum. Thats it.

  • AgelessAnnie says:

    AHah! Thanks Carol for posting the quote It was really bugging me that I couldn’t remember the quote. Whew! I have several favorite heroes one of whom is Leonardo da Vinci. He was a genius an amazing man. He said… “The day will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals the way they now look upon the murder of men.”

  • Carol says:

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

  • Greer Ashton says:

    It’s hard to believe some of the comments made here purportedly in defense of Romney by changing the focus away from the real issue. Shame on anyone who thinks that it’s OK to strap a dog on top of the car even if he was in a carrier! Yes someone should have noticed and reported it. Yes Mitt and the whole family should have been cited with animal cruelty. Yes the dog should have been seized as a result of this incident. This isn’t a perfect world but we can all use the power of our vote to make sure that neither Romney nor anyone like him makes it to the White House!

  • Atia says:

    I honestly thought that Mitt Romney was a respectable candidate when he first came upon the secene. It doesn’t matter to me not should it to anyone else whether a candidate is Catholic Atheist Jewish or Mormon there are no religious duties outlined for any president! However Mitt’s latest stunt was so stupid you’d think that even if he didn’t really care for his dog he might at least anticipate people’s reaction to strapping his dog and carrier to the top of the car for a 12 hour trip! What was he thinking or was he? It’s the same with all the candidates I’d like to know just one of the whole array who would admit publicly for caring about animals but oh no that would make them appear WEAK! I can’t wait to see what Hillary does to prove that she’s as tough and strong as many a man remember Ann Richards Governor of Texas a good oneto boot even she went dove hunting with the good ole boys in Texas having a good ole time. It’s a shame that all the candidates play up to the minority that hunts and owns guns thinks caring for animals is for sissies and takes every opportunity to appear in photo ops with guns andor dead animals! Democrats Republicans Independents and Greens are all guilty of not having enough backbone and intestinal fortitude to stand out in the crowd and speak up against animal atrocities that occur in this country every minute!

  • AgelessAnnie says:

    Interesting thread. I am a lunatic “senior citizen” who loves animals more than people much of the time. I read this article in a newspaper or was it’s daily dish? Whatever. I think it’s swell marvy and groovy told ya I was old that yet another rightwingnut has done something totally crazy even illegal maybe?sure looks like abuse of an animal to me. Sorry I think I have wandered away from the topic. I feel very sorry for the poor dog can you imagine how terrified he must have been up there on the car roof? And tell me again why wasn’t their furry baby allowed to ride IN the car?? Why did they take it along anyway if there was no room in the car for herhim? People are very weird. Especially Republicans. Oh doggone it I said the “R” word guess I’ll have to wash my mouth out with soap now. Anyway they’re all pet haters every one of ’em. LOL Go to find the “Draft Gore” image and then do it! sign the petition Dream team? GoreOsama. sigh Al and Barack wouldn’t treat a dog the ugly way Mitt did I’ll bet! Or go to my blogpage there’s a link there to the Draft Gore signup. Don’t remember the poster’s name above but he got pretty close to the correct wording of the quote he wanted to put in his postI looked for it in one of my notebooks couldn’t find it. But it’s very apropos that I know. Oh well.

  • forest says:

    what a retard!!!i would never to that to my dog. the only thing i would ever do to my dogs is love them and care for them!!!

  • jrm says:

    disgusting. deplorable. maybe the same should be done to him? he doesn’t have compassion for other living beings perhaps going through the same ordeal would widen his perspective…

  • karyl says:

    What a jerk .my dogs sleep with me under the covers .where does his dog slepp ????

  • Tucker says:


  • Michelle says:

    This guy was president of the American Rodeo Association for years and years before he went on to become a governor. As president of the Rodeo Assn he wanted to add rodeo events to the Olympics. So yeah the guy is clueless heartless and really really creepy.

  • Margaret F says:

    Why is it that presidential candidates think they must appeal to macho morons by always making sure they have a hunting photo op? Then Mitt Romney claims hes been a hunter of varmint since he was a boy and manages to pull another stupid trick by keeping the family dog on the roof of the car on a 12hour trip! What are these people who run for office thinking? Do they think that we the public are so stupid that we cant see what a bunch of imbeciles they really are? I never realized that the prerequisite for aspiring to be the President of the United States requires anyone to be able to pick up a gun and kill an animal in Mitts case I guess he wanted to show how macho he is to let his dogs crate strapped to the top of his car and then demonstrate what a cool dude he is in keeping his wits and deal with a poop incident by just hosing the whole car down including the poor dog in his crate! That ought to tell us who NOT to vote for! We dont need any more of the same thing in the White House! Romneys lost my vote!

  • Christine C says:

    I really find this hard to believe. How can he drive for 12 hours with his dog on his roof without anyone reporting it or getting arrested and if it were true and he admits to it why were there not charges filed.I think that this was just a bad joke to get people going because as idiotic as republicans are I just don’t think that anyone can be that stupid.Who would ever teach their children that this sort of abuse is ok? I wonder what proof there is of this story?

  • Jean says:

    This scum has serious problems. I would have to equate him with greedy cruel Michael MOORE. God knows what MOORE does behind closed doorshis hatred for animals is intentionally public and a slap in the face to PETA and all of us who have sacrificed all to prevent the suffering of animals save lives etc. Romney got caught. Personally being a proud Vet I wouldn’t vote for him as he was a coward along with every one of his 5 able bodied SONS. There is a bumper sticker Romney that states “whos son is fighting in place of yours?”well Romney? Instead they all used their religion converting others via their mandatory ‘mission’ work as their service?? Excuse me?? Cowards are notorious animal abusers. Who could possibly respect Romney or his familythey have no shame. And where was his wife during this abuse? It’s not normal behavior. It’s laughable he would even think he would have any respect by the American people let alone the Commander of our brave military. He and his family have shown their true selves in all areas that truly matter. ps was he charged with cruelty? Has the victim of his sickness been taken away and put in to foster care or humane home?

  • Ellen says:

    Though it hardly compares I think it’s fair to note that the Clintons gave way their famous cat Socks. Why? Because they had also acquired a dog? Unfit “pet owners” can be found in any political party.

  • Myranda Silva says:

    Cruel and unsual…no one bothered to pull him over?!?!

  • Eden Courtney says:

    Frank Frank Frank. First your comparison is not valid. In order to be valid the child would have to be inside the carrier with the carrier strapped to the top of the car going 80 mph down the highway for 12 hours. Two let’s walk a little further down memory lane to when George the First was President can you say “IranContra” can you say Salvardoran death squads” who killed hundreds of thousands of men WOMEN CHILDREN and who were financed by George selling weapons to IRAN in order to overthrow the democratically elected government so a puppet more willing to cooperate could be put in place. How about Rummy selling the nerve gas to Sadaam who used it to kill the Kurds and the Iranians in the tens of thousands. Now the Shrub is killing hundreds of thousands of innocent MEN WOMEN CHILDREN in his illegal blood for oil war which only enriches the likes of Halliburton CheneyBechtel KBG Blackwater and of course the big 5 oil companies. They despise the middleclass and you don’t have near enough money to even be a blip on their radar screen. This administration is laughing it’s butt off at fools like you. Wake up!

  • sue lesmond says:

    A total piece of scum. You only have to look at the jerk to realise that he is a moron and with noticeable psychiatric deficits.

  • Sandy says:

    I don’t think this is the first time that moron strapped his poor dog in a carrier on the roof while travelling. He is an uncaring idiot beyond belief.

  • Kimberly Smith says:

    Unrightous Prick! “The Rightous man regards his beast but even the tender mercies of the unrightous are cruel” The Bible book of Proverbs book of wisdom. King Solomen