Noem defends herself over criticism for killing dog

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) defended herself from social media criticism Sunday after she shared a story about killing her dog after a hunting trip.

In an excerpt of her new book, Noem described shooting and killing her about 14-month-old wirehaired pointer, “Cricket,” due to poor behavior. The story garnered mass criticism online, including a viral response from Democratic governors, who mocked Noem by sharing photos with their own pets.

“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,” Noem wrote on the social media platform X on Sunday. “The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned.”

Noem defended her decision to kill the dog and to share the story, saying it shows constituents that she is “authentic, willing to learn from the past, and don’t shy away from tough challenges.”

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

In the story shared in her book, first reported by The Guardian, Noem wrote that Cricket chased away pheasants during a hunting trip, ruining the hunt, and that it later attacked a local family’s chickens.

“I hated that dog,” she wrote, adding that Cricket was untrainable, dangerous and worthless as a hunting dog.

“At that moment,” Noem wrote, “I realized I had to put her down.”

She then led Cricket to a gravel pit on her property and shot it, writing it was “not a pleasant job” but it “had to be done.”

Noem wrote that she also then killed a “nasty and mean” male goat that smelled and liked to chase her children. Because it jumped when she first shot at the goat, she needed two shots to “put him down.”

The criticism comes as Noem is under consideration to be former President Trump’s running mate. The governor is reportedly a finalist on a shortlist for the vice presidency.

The Democratic National Committee, in its response, also called out other comments from Noem that they deemed extreme, including defending her state’s abortion ban when asked about 10-year-olds forced to give birth. And it highlighted times that she has praised Trump, including when she said in September she would be his running mate “in a heartbeat.”

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