A group known as Dogs Against Romney, mobilized about a dozen demonstrators outside the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in front of Madison Square Garden to protest Mitt Romney's treatment of his Irish setter, Seamus, during a family vacation in 1983.
USA Today reports Dogs Against Romney, in a press release, had invited protesters to gather in front of the Madison Square Garden, saying it invited "everyone who believes dogs aren't luggage" to participate.
According to IB Times, the story first reported by the Boston Globe in 2007 generated considerable media attention. Romney himself admitted that he put the dog inside a crate and strapped it on the roof rack of his car all through a 12-hour drive from Boston to Canada.
Dog lovers have often argued that Romney's treatment of the dog is a reflection of his global values. According to IB Times, one of the protesters John Davenport of Upper West Side in New York, said: "Dogs deserve our love and concern. You feel more comfortable about people that love animals."
The group, whose spokeswoman Kitty Hendrix claimed has about 25,000 members, carried signs that said: “Mitt is Mean,” “Dogs Aren’t Luggage” and “I Ride Inside.” Hendrix said the group was taking advantage of the event by the Westminster Kennel Club, and was taking care not to interrupt the show.
The group got mixed reactions from people walking past. The Washington Post reports some passers-by stopped to talk to the protesters, while a man walking past hollered: “Dogs don’t vote!”
One of the protesters Al Alvarez, who held a bull terrier on the leash, said his dog Petey rides in a crate in the back seat because “he’s always trying to shift the gears.” He said: “I think Romney’s attitude toward dogs was indicative of his attitude toward the most vulnerable in our society.”
Prada, caged at the Metro Animal Control, Nashville, TN
Spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club Lisa Peterson, said she was aware of the story about Romney. She said: “The AKC promotes responsible dog ownership. Putting a dog in a crate for car travel is the first step toward responsible dog ownership. The second step would be to put that crate in a car.”
IB Times comments, however, that the protesters have issues with more than just Romney's treatment of his dog. One of the protesters, according to IB Times, admitted "the dog issue wouldn't be a deal breaker if he agreed with Romney's other policies." Another said: "If I was a standard Republican, God forbid, it might make me reconsider." The protester said Romney has "so much stuff that he represents that I don't like." He also said "the whole collection of Republican presidential candidates was 'wildly inappropriate.'"
The Washington Post reports Romney has also been criticized by his Republican rivals on his treatment of his dog, Seamus. Republican Party presidential nomination candidate Newt Gingrich, included in a reel of Romney' s gaffs, a Fox News interview in which Romney tried to defend his action, saying he had kept the dog in a "completely airtight kennel."