Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, whom Democrats have raked over the coals for once transporting Seamus, the family dog, in a crate strapped to the roof of the car during a road trip, hit back during a fundraiser at a hotel in downtown Indianapolis on Monday evening, telling the audience that “even the animals are suffering in the Obama economy.”

Democrats have used the tale of Seamus, who lost control of his bowels on the trip to Canada, to portray Romney as an uncaring former private equity executive. But Romney, who makes his corporate acumen the linchpin of his electoral pitch, focused on the story of a couple he met on the trail who owned a struggling veterinary clinic.

The business was down 40 percent and the couple were forced to move to a smaller home and were thinking of selling their business, Romney told the room of roughly 200 supporters, many of whom paid between $2,500 and $50,000 to attend the fundraiser hours before Indiana voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s hotly contested primary.

Romney, who had been warmly introduced by Governor Mitch Daniels, explained that the couple’s business suffered not because of bad customer service but because of the bad economy.

“What happened is, people are cutting back on care for their pets. Vaccines and other things. They’re just not doing it,” Romney said, before deadpanning: “I guess even the animals are suffering in the Obama economy.”