ASPCA, PETA criticize Romney for dog on top of car during roadtrip

Note to animal owners: When it comes to road-tripping with your pet pooch, the ASPCA and PETA say don’t do as Mitt Romney did and strap Fido to the top of the car. 

A lot of critics have been barking about the gross-out story the GOP presidential candidate told The Boston Globe in a 1997 interview about a 12-hour family trip from Boston to Ontario.

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The former governor of Massachusetts described to the newspaper how he put Seamus, his pet Irish setter, in a dog carrier, affixing it to the station wagon’s roof rack. He also built a windshield for the carrier, which the paper notes was meant to “make the ride more comfortable for the dog.”

Then things got a little nasty. According to the paper, during the drive, Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, was looking out the rear window when he spotted something unusual: “A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who’d been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.” Ick.

Romney stopped the car and reportedly cleaned Seamus up. He then put Seamus back on the top of the car, where Romney said the dog “was comfortable.” 

But Dr. Katherine Miller, the director of applied science and research for The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, tells ITK rather than sticking man’s best friend on the roof, it’s best to keep your pup in the, you know, actual car. 

“A dog or cat should never be placed on top of a moving vehicle and transported in that manner. The ASPCA recommends traveling with your pet secured safely inside the car,” Miller says.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals agrees. In a statement, the group’s media liaison, Nicole Dao, said, “PETA is on record as opposing any transport of a dog other than inside the car with the rest of the passengers.”

Miller, of the ASPCA, says the best way to keep your canine companion happy and safe during long rides is to, “Keep your pet secured in the backseat in a well-ventilated crate or carrier that’s large enough for him or her to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in, or with a travel harness attached to a seat buckle.”

While the Globe reported that Romney told his brood that he “would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it,” PETA says pet owners should stop frequently to take dogs on walks. And the organization advises never leaving animals inside a car alone, even on mildly warm days. The group says, “Dogs who are left in a car even in the shade can quickly succumb to heatstroke and suffer brain damage as a result.”

Lastly, says Miller, letting your tail-wagger do a little tongue-waving in the wind is a no-no: “While in the car, you can consider cracking the windows to get air flowing, but don’t allow your pet to ride with his or her head outside the window, as your pet could be injured by flying objects.”

 The Romney campaign did not comment.