South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s Admission of Shooting Her Dog Is Sparking Backlash · The Wildest

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Activists and Politicians Condemn South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem for Shooting Her “Untrainable” Dog

The Trump VP contender is under fire for this heinous act of cruelty.

by Sio Hornbuckle
April 29, 2024
Kristi Noem, governor of South Dakota, pauses while speaking during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Sunday, July 11, 2021.
Bloomberg / Getty Images

Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, who has previously been in the news as one of Donald Trump’s top contenders for a vice presidential running mate, is under fire for recent admissions of animal cruelty in her soon-to-be-released political memoir. In the book, No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward, Noem admitted to killing a 14-month-old dog, whom she described as “untrainable.”

Noem describes taking her hunting dog, Cricket, on a pheasant hunt, The Guardian reported. Cricket then went “out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life.” Later, after Noem tried to control Cricket with an electronic collar, Cricket escaped and attacked a local family’s chickens, killing multiple birds. “I hated that dog,” Noem wrote. She described Cricket as “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with” and “untrainable.” 

After Cricket’s behavior on the hunt, Noem took the dog to a pit and shot her. And that’s not where the acts of animal cruelty end. After killing Cricket, Noem remembered a “nasty and mean” goat her family owned — the goat smelled “disgusting, musky, rancid” and would chase Noem’s children, per The Guardian. Noem took the goat to the pit where she’d killed Cricket; when the goat survived the first gunshot, Noem shot him again.

In her memoir, Noem describes this story as evidence for her readiness for politics: She’s willing to do things that are “difficult, messy, and ugly,” she wrote. 

Noem is under serious fire for her actions.

On her own X (formerly known as Twitter) account, Noem responded to The Guardian’s story as if it this excerpt of her memoir were nothing more than a standard piece of book promo: “If you want more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping, preorder No Going Back.

Others in Noem’s own party weren’t so nonchalant. Rick Wilson, a co-founder of The Lincoln Project and the author of Everything Trump Touches Dies, wrote on X: “Kristi Noem is trash … She killed a puppy because she was lazy at training bird dogs, not because it was a bad dog … You down old dogs, hurt dogs, and sick dogs humanely, not by shooting them and tossing them in a gravel pit. Unsporting and deliberately cruel...but she wrote this to prove the cruelty is the point.”

Ryan Busse, a gubernatorial candidate in Montana, wrote on X, “Anyone who has ever owned a bird dog knows how disgusting, lazy, and evil this is.”

The Democratic National Committee released a statement describing Noem’s story as “truly disturbing and horrifying.” On her Instagram, Hilary Clinton pointedly posted a screenshot of one of her tweets from back in 2021 that read, “Don’t vote for anyone you wouldn’t trust with your dog.” Alongside it, she simply wrote, “Still true.”

And criticism comes from across the political spectrum.

The backlash isn’t solely along party lines. Republican television personality and author Meghan McCain wrote on X , “This is not a ‘rural/ranch’ thing … ​​This story is something out of a horror movie.” In a previous version of the edited tweet, McCain added that “torturing animals is a trait of a serial killer.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis also chimed in on X , inviting people to rescue dogs from Big Dog Ranch Rescue.

Animal activists are weighing in, too. Sara Amundson, the president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, released a statement stating, “These details from Governor Kristi Noem’s upcoming book demonstrate a disconnect with the 86 million American homes that have at least one beloved pet and value our relationship with them. There are so many effective and humane ways to deal with canine behavioral issues that don’t resort to such means. America has always been a brighter light for championing the way we treat our animals. And this is not that brighter light.”

Colleen O’Brien, the  senior vice president at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), added her perspective, saying, “Noem obviously fails to understand the vital political concepts of education, cooperation, compromise, and compassion.”

Paws Animal Rescue , a rescue in Kristi Noem’s state of South Dakota, posted about the idea of an “untrainable” dog on Facebook. “We haven’t met one yet,” Paws Animal Rescue wrote. “In all our years in animal rescue and the thousands of animals that have come through our door, we have yet to meet a dog that was so untrainable it deserved to be shot to death.”

Sio Hornbuckle

Sio Hornbuckle is a writer living in New York City with their cat, Toni Collette.

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