Yes this could be perceived as cruelty but if the dog was not physically or emotionally damaged it isn't a crime and could easily be perceived as a joke. The likely of the dog getting hurt is so low that it is almost wrong to care and is just more ammo for PETA.
PETA overreacted to Sarah Palin's posting of her son using their dog as a step stool and similarly, Palin overreacted to PETA's comments. The dog was clearly not harmed or bothered and the fact that Palin took advantage of this situation and brought politics into the discussion is just plain petty in my opinion.
PETA overreacted to pictures of Sarah Palin's son stepping on their dog. From viewing the picture, it doesn't appear that the dog was in any pain while Palin's son stood on top of him. Furthermore, the dog - named Jill Hadassah - does not appear as though it is being forced to stay and could have moved away at any time.
Most NORMAL people would not post a picture of their child standing on the family pet like that. Most NORMAL people would direct their child to get off the animal and explain that that type of activity can hurt them. Sarah Palin continues to think that she can get away with doing and saying whatever she wants. This is animal abuse, just because the dog didn't move doesn't mean it was not uncomfortable for him.Her flippant reply to PETA was typically Sarah Palin in her, "I know better than everyone" style. I wish this woman would go away.
She should have told her son to use a stool if he wanted to reach something on the counter. Instead she pulled out her camera to take a picture of him stepping on their dog's back. He might not know any better and her not correcting him will make him think that is okay to do, which it is not. the dog could get hurt.