According to the Humane Society of the United States, 39 percent of U.S. households own a dog, and 28 percent own two dogs. Some 62 percent of all households in America have a pet of some kind and are expected to spend nearly $53 billion on them this year.

The treatment of Seamus remains so worrisome to the Romney campaign that Ann Romney was compelled to say just the other day that Seamus “loved” being up in that carrier during that trip.

But when Fred Malek, a big-time Republican power broker, who once tracked down Jews for Richard Nixon, recently held a fundraising birthday party for Ann Romney, websites revived a 2006 story from The Washington Post that revealed that Malek, at age 22, was one of five men arrested in Peoria, Ill., for beating a dog to death and barbecuing it.

Malek said he was drunk, took no active part in the killing or barbecuing and was in no shape to stop the events from happening.