June 28, 2007

Wonkette Digs Up Dog Dirt On Romney

OK, all you dog-lovers out there should avert your eyes.

The incident: dog excrement found on the roof and windows of the Romney station wagon. How it got there: Romney strapped a dog carrier with the family dog Seamus, an Irish Setter, in it to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour drive from Boston to Ontario, which the family apparently completed, despite Seamus's rather visceral protest.

Massachusetts's animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal "in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon." An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying "it's definitely something I'd want to check out." The officer, Nadia Branca, declined to give a definitive opinion on whether Romney broke the law but did note that it's against state law to have a dog in an open bed of a pick-up truck, and "if the dog was being carried in a way that endangers it, that would be illegal." And while it appears that the statute of limitations has probably passed, Stacey Wolf, attorney and legislative director for the ASPCA, said "even if it turns out to not be against the law at the time, in the district, we'd hope that people would use common sense...Any manner of transporting a dog that places the animal in serious danger is something that we'd think is inappropriate...I can't speak to the accuracy of the case, but it raises concerns about the judgment used in this particular situation."

Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, was less circumspect. PETA does not have a position on Romney's candidacy per se, but Newkirk called the incident "a lesson in cruelty that was ... wrong for [his children] to witness...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." Romney, of course, has expressed support for the use of "enhanced interrogation" techniques when it comes to terrorists; his campaign did not return repeated calls and emails about the treatment of his dog.

Now, don't get me wrong. This was a bone-head move on Romney's part. But you have to admit, presented in a certain way this story is kind of amusing. In fact, you want irony? The incident took place in 1983, the very year that audiences saw this scene from National Lampoon's "Vacation":

Admit it. The first time you saw that you thought it was funny.

Of course, it was circa 1983 back when Chevy Chase was actually funny.

Yips! from Robbo! I'm thinking a new campaign theme here:

Shoot the Dog.jpg

Posted by Gary at June 28, 2007 10:15 AM | TrackBack

I don't know how this will play in the rest of the country. Is it really against the law in Mass to let your dog ride in the back of your pickup? Some of the happiest dogs I've ever seen have been in hanging in the bed of a pickup. Strapped to a roof at highway speeds is another matter, of course. But it'll be interesting to see if this is picked up as a 'Romney's a nasty dude' or 'MA is a nanny state full of nagging do-gooders'.

Posted by: tdp at June 28, 2007 11:15 AM