AKRON, Ohio––Perhaps Wendell Steiner, a Mennonite from Nova, Ashland County, Ohio, imagined he could safely emulate 2012 Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on April 17, 2015, when Steiner set out for Chambersburg, Pennsylvania with his four toddlers and his wife inside the family mini-van, and four caged mixed-breed puppies on the roof, on a purported mission of mercy for the pups.
“Call after call came into 911 centers from Ashland County to Akron,” reported Akron Beacon-Journal staff writer Phil Trexler. “The cage, about two feet wide and four feet long, was covered with a blanket, but the wind on the highway lifted the cover, exposing the pups for passing motorists to see. The rough ride ended for the pups on Interstate 76 in East Akron when Officer Jim Cunningham flipped on his emergency lights.
“Steiner told police he was merely transporting the mixed-breed pooches to his wife’s family,” Trexler continued. “The pups, all about 3 months old, belonged to Steiner’s father, who was unable to keep the dogs. So, Steiner volunteered to drive his Dodge Caravan more than 300 miles to south-central Pennsylvania.”
Said Steiner, “We had more important things to put inside the vehicle.”
The dogs were turned over to the local dog warden.
A publicist for Mitt Romney in 2007 cited to the Boston Globe as a purported example of Romney’s ability to think in a crisis his response in 1983 when his car was too small to hold his whole family and their English setter Seamus on a 12-hour vacation drive to Canada. Romney therefore transported Seamus in a carrier tied to a roof rack. Seamus became ill on the way; Romney hosed the off the dog and the car at a gas station.
Scott Crider, 47, of Gulf Shores, Alabama, made the incident a 2012 campaign issue by forming an organization called Dogs Against Romney and following the Romney campaign through the primary election season with a dog dummy strapped to the roof of his car.