MAN BITES DOG….Several readers have asked about Friday Cat Blogging, which, I’m afraid, will have to wait until Kevin returns. In its absence, how about a different pet-related story?

An example of Mitt Romney’s crisis management skills has turned into something of a political problem for the Republican presidential contender.

Romney placed his family dog, an Irish setter named Seamus, into a kennel lashed to the top of his station wagon for a 12-hour family trip from Boston to Ontario in 1983. Despite being shielded by a wind screen the former Massachusetts governor erected, Seamus expressed his discomfort with a diarrhea attack.

Now the story, recounted this week in a Boston Globe profile of Romney, has touched off howls of outrage from bloggers and animal rights activists even though it was presented in the story as an example of Romney’s coolness under trying circumstances.

Is this story important to the presidential race? Not really, but it’s one of those nagging stories that’s been, ahem, dogging Romney’s campaign all week. He was even forced to respond at a press event yesterday, telling reporters the dog “enjoyed” being on the roof.

It seems like a stretch to think that a story like this could hurt Romney’s chances in the presidential race, but there are a lot of dog owners out there who wouldn’t dream of sticking their family pet on the roof of a car.

And just to make thing extra interesting, Time reported, “Massachusetts’s animal cruelty laws specifically prohibit anyone from carrying an animal ‘in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon.’ An officer for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals responded to a description of the situation saying ‘it’s definitely something I’d want to check out.’”

It’s a story with, ahem, legs.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.