A photo of Sarah Palin’s 6-year-old son, Trig, standing on the family dog has sparked criticism and animal abuse accusations against the one-time Republican vice presidential nominee.
More than 68,500 people liked the Facebook photo, which also appeared on Instagram. But many of the 23,000-plus Facebook comments were sharply critical of the former Alaska governor after her New Year’s Day post:
« May 2015 see every stumbling block turned into a stepping stone on the path forward. Trig just reminded me. He, determined to help wash dishes with an oblivious mama not acknowledging his signs for « up! », found me and a lazy dog blocking his way. He made his stepping stone. »
MeLinda Johnson wrote, « Poor dog! I AM NOT A LIBERAL, thank you! Common sense here? »
No child should be allowed to stand on a dog, Loreine Fitzgerald-Webber wrote, but to post it as though it was cute is infuriating. « I’m posting (as) a dog lover and mother who also had cared for children with (Down) syndrome. She is sending him the wrong message, » she wrote.
« Just because the dog is good enough not to react doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt him… would you lay on the floor and let your son use YOU as a stepping stool? » Catanya Nelson wrote. « Animals are family members too and they should be treated as such. Just because you can does not mean you should. Poor puppy. »
Others stood up for Palin, saying the dog could move if it wanted to.
« My kids climb all over our big dogs and they don’t mind at all, » Julie Leatherberry wrote. « If they don’t like something they get up and walk away and jump over the baby gate to have some time alone. »
Palin responded to the criticism Saturday afternoon on Facebook:
« Dear PETA,
Chill. At least Trig didn’t eat the dog. »
After taking shots at Ellen DeGeneres and Barack Obama, she blasted the group as « double-standard radicals » who are « always opposing Alaska’s Iditarod – the Last Great Race honoring dogs who are born to run in wide open spaces, while some of your pets « thrive » in a concrete jungle where they’re allowed outdoors to breathe and pee maybe once a day? »
« Our pets, including Trig’s best buddy Jill Hadassah, are loved, spoiled and cared for more than some people care for their fellow man whose politics may not mesh with nonsensical liberally failed ways or don’t fit your flighty standards, » she continued. « Jill is a precious part of our world. So is Trig. »
The president of the animal rights group issued a response Saturday.
« PETA simply believes that people shouldn’t step on dogs, and judging by the reaction that we’ve seen to Sarah Palin’s Instagram photo, we’re far from alone in that belief, » PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a written statement.
« Palin’s Facebook response shows us that she knows PETA about as well as she knows geography. Yes, we campaign against the Iditarod because when the dogs aren’t being driven — sometimes to death — most live chained or inside cages for their entire lives. »
She concluded by saying, « We have no reason to believe that the Palin companion animals aren’t ordinarily pampered, and we wish the entire family a peaceful and humane 2015. »
Palin became the first Republican woman to run on a presidential ticket when Sen. John McCain of Arizona tapped her in 2008. Since then, she has written several books and been a contributor for Fox News. She launched her own online news channel in July.
Copyright © 2015, Orlando Sentinel