Kristi Noem defends decision to shoot her dog amid criticism

Kristi Noem defends decision to shoot her dog amid criticism

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem defended her decision to kill her dog after an excerpt from her book outlining the incident caught her some flak from Democrats.

“I can understand why some people are upset about a 20-year-old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch, in my upcoming book — ‘No Going Back,’” Ms. Noem said Sunday in a lengthy post on the social media site X. 

“The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned,” she said.

Her book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” has a scheduled release date for next month. 

In one part, she recounts the story of how she shot and killed her 14-month-old wirehaired pointer after the dog killed another family’s chicken flock when they returned from a hunting trip. She was training Cricket to hunt pheasants, but found the dog to be a lost cause.

“It was not a pleasant job, but it had to be done,” she says in the book. “And after it was over, I realized another unpleasant job needed to be done.”

She killed a “nasty and mean” goat after she killed the dog.

Ms. Noem wrote Sunday in the X post that “my hope is anyone reading this book will have an understanding that I always work to make the best decisions I can for the people in my life.”

She noted that this was not the first time the dog had stepped over a line and that there were possible legal issues too.

“The fact is, South Dakota law states that dogs who attack and kill livestock can be put down. Given that Cricket had shown aggressive behavior toward people by biting them, I decided what I did,” Ms. Noem wrote.

The book’s excerpt caught the attention of a group of Democratic governors, who started sharing pictures of their family dogs.

“Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit,” Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz posted on X with a photo of feeding his dog a sweet treat. “I’ll start.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer joined the post by adding a photo of her and her two dogs. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s photo showed him lying with his dog on the floor. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s photo features him petting a dog while it lies on the floor.

The Democratic National Committee slammed her for the book’s excerpt in a statement Friday, referring to the party as the “Dogmocratic Party.”

“As DNC’s canine companions, we’ve heard a lot from our owners about just how extreme and dangerous Donald Trump and his far-right MAGA allies are – but nothing could prepare us for the truly disturbing and horrifying passages Kristi Noem willingly chose to put in her new book. Our message is plain and simple: If you want elected officials who don’t brag about brutally killing their pets as part of their self-promotional book tour, then listen to our owners – and vote Democrat,” the statement said.

Ms. Noem, a Republican who is considered a top contender to be former President Trump’s 2024 running mate, had a different take.

She said Sunday that she shared the story to show that “whether running the ranch or in politics, I have never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle. Even if it’s hard and painful. I followed the law and was being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor.”

“It wasn’t easy,” Ms. Noem wrote. “But often the easy way isn’t the right way.”

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