Sarah Palin’s First Facebook Post of the Year Is Already Controversial

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has already attracted controversy in 2015, after posting a series of photos showing her youngest son standing on the family dog.

“May 2015 see every stumbling block turned into a stepping stone on the path forward,” Palin posted in a New Year’s Facebook greeting. “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.”

The photos, posted Thursday morning, garnered more than 49,000 Facebook “likes” in less than 24 hours, but also more than 19,000 comments — the majority of which expressed outrage at Palin for allowing the 6-year-old to stand on the dog and voiced concern for the animal’s welfare:

• Why the hell would you allow a child to use the dog’s back to stand on??!! Such irresponsible behaviour and a total disrespectful way to teach children how to treat animals. Totally disgusting. May 2015 teach you to be a better mother and non animal abuser. Disgusting!!!

• Poor dog that’s dangerous.. how stupid and cruel adults are not to teach this child how to respect and animal.

• Ohhhh…. I’m normally in your fan base Sara, but these pictures are disturbing on so many levels. What happens as Trig gets bigger and doesn’t understand this could hurt the dog? What happens as the dog gets older and more sensitive to pressure on his spine? This is a dangerous thing for both your pet and your son. Please stop this now before something horrible happens to one or both of them.

• You are so unbelievable! So sad! Totally wrong! Let me send someone to stand on you, you be the stepping stone!

Other commenters defended Palin and hit back at her critics:

• If the boy were hurting the dog, it would get up and move

• Great series of photos! My Golden Retrievers, like your labs, love kids and these photos do not demonstrate abuse in any way. Kicking a dog is evil, but doesn’t happen in a home such as the Palins. You haters, go find a decent example to ventilate.

• Happy New Year to you and your family. I am amazed at how many people take the time to insult you. Cute family shots thanks for posting them. Oh by the way we have a dog that sleeps outside I hope we aren’t bad people too.

Palin regularly posts photos of her children, including Trig, who has Down syndrome. The Palin family adopted the dog in August.

UPDATE, Jan. 3, 11:16 p.m. ET: After PETA criticized Palin as a “hard-hearted … bizarrely callous woman,” Palin fired back: “Chill. At least Trig didn’t eat the dog.”