Kristi Noem doubles-down over dog killing saying she was being ‘responsible’

South Dakota’s Republican governor claims her decision to shoot her dog in a gravel pit was the responsible choice as a parent, dog owner and neighbour

Ariana Baio
Sunday 28 April 2024 21:28 BST
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South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is doubling down on her decision to kill her 14-month-old dog, saying she “followed the law” and was “being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor.”

Over the weekend, Ms Noem faced intense scrutiny for openly admitting to shooting her defiant dog, Cricket, years ago after it attacked somebody’s chickens and was difficult to train as a hunting dog. The story, which was first revealed in The Guardian, is included in Ms Noem’s new book.

After the story went viral, Ms Noem told followers on X that “tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm” before plugging her book.

But criticism has not let up and now Ms Noem is doubling down on her decision.

“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,” Ms Noem wrote on Sunday.

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

In her book, Ms Noem says she chose to shoot Cricket, a wirehaired pointer because it was being aggressive and rowdy while on a pheasant hunt. Ms Noem said that she was returning home from the hunt and stopped to talk with some locals when the puppy got out of the truck and attacked the chickens on the locals’ farm.

The governor said she “hated that dog” and chose to take it to a gavel pit and shoot it, believing it to be untrainable and dangerous.

The South Dakota governor then pivoted, using the story to explain how she has taken responsibility, even when it’s “hard and painful”, in her political career.

Ms Noem is on the list of potential vice presidential picks for Donald Trump and has been trying to position herself as a strong option. She has joined the former president on the campaign trail and passionately endorsed him time and time again on social media.

Even while facing negative attention from the dog-killing story, Ms Noem has continued to try and spin the story to reflect on her positively.

“What I learned from my years of public service, especially leading South Dakota through COVID, is people are looking for leaders who are authentic, willing to learn from the past, and don’t shy away from tough challenges,” she wrote in her post on Sunday.

President Donald Trump appears with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Sept. 7, 2018,
President Donald Trump appears with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, Sept. 7, 2018, (AP)

But it may be difficult for Ms Noem to come back from this.

Polling from New River Strategies, reported by POLITICO, revealed that 81 per cent of 1,156 Americans surveyed, disagreed with Ms Noem’s decision to shoot her dog.

A scoop from Axios claims that North Dakota Governor, and former presidential candidate, Doug Burgum is making his way to the top of Mr Trump’s list of potential vice presidents.

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