I don’t follow politics much but the loud condemnation of Mitt Romney for the transportation of his dog Seamus in a crate on top of a car has made even me take notice.
Politics aside, let’s approach the issue from the animal health perspective:
The first point is that those attacking Romney have so far produced no explanation as to why crating a dog on top of a car is unsafe. This is not a well known fact but one of the most dangerous places for a dog is travelling unrestrained inside the cabin of a car. During fast breaking the unrestrained dog becomes a moving projectile continuing to move through the car with the speed the car was previously travelling at. This put both the dog and the occupants of the car at great risk. I have treated many dogs that have sustained life threatening injuries in a minor car accident while travelling unrestrained inside the cabin. Travelling on top may be far safer for the dog as long as the crate is well anchored to the car.
The other issue is the implied psychological damage to the dog. In my professional opinion these claims have no validity. Dogs feel safest in small enclosed spaces. Dogs are routinely crated for long haul aeroplane flights. Placing a dog away from the cabin may actually be a safer option as it reduces stimulation to the dog and is less detractive for the driver.
To sum up, we all feel strongly about the welfare of our four legged friends but claims of cruelty need to be justified with evidence, not shrill emotion. Those leaping to attack Romney on this count should consider providing sound support for their claims. Otherwise those claims appear to be motivated by politics, not animal welfare.