I see people who drive with dogs in the back of their pickups. Even on freeways you see them. The dog in his kennel secured to the top is safer than the dog running around in the back of a pickup maybe probably, but it is hard to tell after 24 years how the transport was secured. Time makes a difference from that angle.
It is a stupid thing to do, yes it is, for more than one reason.
He is a politician and he has a snowball's chance of winning. The story was supposed to make people say "see, he still gets the job done and follows things through", but this story will not sway anyone. It will upset pet owners and animal activists, and is likely to make anyone else say "I don't get it?" It just doesn't translate well and makes people upset.
Pets are always your friend no matter what.