Mitt Romney looks to be in the doghouse again with animal rights advocates.
Dogs Against Romney, a grassroots organization formed after founder Scott Crider discovered Romney once strapped the family Irish Setter, Seamus, to the roof of a station wagon for 12 hours, says the GOP front-runner can't seem to avoid associating himself with animal cruelty. [See a collection of political cartoons on the Republican party.]
"I don't think Mitt Romney is purposefully trying to do that, but I think he should more careful about who he aligns himself with," Crider says.
Romney will earn donations at a lavish campaign fundraiser Monday hosted by campaign donors Fred and Marlene Malek. Mr. Malek, the president of Marriott Hotels and former finance committee co-chair of John McCain's presidential bid, was once affiliated with a gruesome animal cruelty case.
A 2006 story in the Washington Post detailed how in 1959, Malek was one of five men arrested for killing and barbecuing a dog in a Peoria, Ill. Park.
Malek, said he was drunk during the incident and not an active participant. The animal cruelty charges against him were later dropped when one of the men involved confessed to acting alone.
Malek told the Post he was in no position to stop the crime at the time of the incident.
In a blog entry, Crider takes issue with Malek's alibi, and then goes on to write, "What is it with Mitt Romney and Animal Cruelty?"
Brad Bannon, spokesman of the Super PAC Mitt is Mean, which also highlights Romney's supposed cruelty toward dogs, says Romney's cozy relationship with Malek is further evidence of the GOP candidate's disregard for animals.[Read: Team Romney charges Obama is bad for working women.]
"I am surprised Gov. Romney is going to go to this fundraiser and get money from a guy who barbecued a dog, especially with Mitt Romney's history with dogs. I was shocked and horrified," Bannon says. "It illustrates Romney's general indifference to people and to animals. He doesn't care about poor people, he doesn't care about his dog, he doesn't care about what Fred Malek does to dogs, he is the classic cold blooded corporate raider. He just doesn't care."