Animal Rights

Recounting Mitt Romney's Cruelty to his Own Dog

| by The Volokh Conspiracy

By Ilya Somin

Dogs Against Romney is back for the 2012 campaign, and has established a website and twitter page (HT: Steve Bainbridge). The group is devoted to publicizing the notorious incident where Mitt Romney strapped the family dog Seamus in a dog carrier attached to the roof of his car, and then kept him there for a twelve hour-long trip until the dog relieved himself and ended up covered in excrement.

I am no great fan of Romney’s, largely because of his poor record on government spending and regulation while he was governor of Massachusetts. At the same time, I’m not sure that Romney was being deliberately cruel to his dog in this case or “torturing” it, as some claim. I think it’s more likely that his behavior was simply thoughtless and foolish.

That said, it’s surprising that this anecdote came to light because Romney himself proudly recounted it to the Boston Globe as an example of his skill at “crisis management.” I would not expect a prominent politician and leading presidential contender to have such a tin ear for how a story like this will play in the court of public opinion.

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