Sarah Palin and her son Trig are getting a lot of flak after a pic surfaced of the latter stepping on the family dog and using the canine as a stepping stool. The photo was used by the former Alaskan governor as a New Year’s greeting and came with the following captions:

“May 2015 see every stumbling block turned into a stepping stone on the path forward.”

Within minutes of the photo’s release, her Facebook followers expressed their dismay and outrage, with many calling the act an instance of animal cruelty. Many are now lambasting the former vice presidential candidate for teaching her child that treating an animal in such a manner is okay.

One commenter responded by modifying her original quote:

“May 2015 teach you to be a better mother and non-animal abuser. Disgusting!!!”

According to Sarah Palin, her son Trig wanted to help her do the dishes that day, but he wasn’t able to reach the counter, and the dog happened to be resting next to the counter, so the 6-year-old casually used the furry creature as a booster.

Not everyone, though, found the image disturbing. The pic and accompanying message did garner 50,000 likes among her 4.5 million Facebook followers.

This also isn’t the first time a politician caused controversy over animal treatment. During his 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney received his share of criticism after he recounted a family road trip in which the dog was brought along and strapped to the top of the car because there was no space inside the vehicle.

Trig is Sarah Palin’s youngest son. He was born right around the time when she was running as John McCain’s vice president for the 2008 US election. Trig was born with Down Syndrome; he was also born around the same time as his nephew, Tripp, who is the son of Palin’s oldest daughter Bristol. The birth caused a media stir and brought to light the issue of teen pregnancy.

[photo credit: Micahel Vadon]

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