Sarah Palin has told animal rights group PETA to “chill” after it criticised her for posting photographs of her son standing on their dog.
Six-year-old Trig Palin, who has Down’s syndrome, was pictured preparing to wash dishes while standing on the black Labrador, named Jill Hadassah, in order to reach the kitchen sink.
Mrs Palin, a former Alaska governor and 2008 US vice-presidential nominee, posted three photos of the pair on her Facebook page along with the phrase: “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.”
There were tens of thousands of responses from the public, many of them positive but with some accusing her of animal abuse.
Ingrid Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: “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.”
Now Mrs Palin has taken to her Facebook page for a lengthy response to the animal rights group, writing: “Dear PETA, Chill.
“At least Trig didn’t eat the dog.”
She added: “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.”
Mrs Palin attacked PETA for opposing commercial fishing and Alaska’s annual Iditarod dog sled race, describing the group as “anti-beef screamers blogging hate from your comfy leather office chairs”.
Ms Newkirk said in a statement on Saturday that the organisation is vegan, so people sit on non-leather chairs.
She said they campaign against the Iditarod race came about because many dogs “live chained or inside cages” when they’re not being driven.
But she added: “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.”