Trump VP candidate Kristi Noem sparks backlash for ‘twisted’ admission of killing her dog

In her new book, due to be released next month, the South Dakota governor described the dog as ‘less than worthless’ and also claimed to have also killed a ‘nasty and mean’ goat

Mike Bedigan
Saturday 27 April 2024 13:40 BST
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One of the candidates in the running to be Donald Trump’s pick for Vice President has admitted that she once shot a pet puppy that she “hated”.

Kristi Noem wrote about an incident with the dog, named Cricket, who she called “untrainable” and “less than worthless”. She also claimed to have put down an unnamed, family-owned goat because he was “nasty and mean”.

Ms Noem, the Governor of South Dakota is seen as a leading contender to be Mr Trump’s running mate for the November presidential election.

Her revelations about killing animals sparked outrage on Friday, with some describing her as “sick and twisted” and “trash”.

Her anecdotes appear in her new book No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward – which will be published in the US next month. A copy has been obtained ahead of time by The Guardian.

Noem is seen as a leading contender to be Donald Trump’s pick for Vice President
Noem is seen as a leading contender to be Donald Trump’s pick for Vice President (AP)

The outlet reported that in the book, Ms Noem – who represented South Dakota in Congress for eight years before becoming governor – includes the story of Cricket’s demise in order to illustrate how to do things in life, both personally and politically, which are “difficult, messy and ugly”.

The governor describes how she took the puppy on a pheasant hunt with other dogs to teach her how to behave. However, she said the animal went “out of her mind with excitement” and scared off the birds.

Despite Ms Noem’s attempts to control Cricket with an electronic collar, the animal later attacked a group of chickens, “grabb[ing] one chicken at a time, crunching it to death with one bite, then dropping it to attack another”. Cricket also later attempted to bite the governor herself, she writes.

In the book Ms Noem wrote a check for the damage to the owners of the chickens, who were weeping, and helped them dispose of the dead poultry. The dog, she writes, was “a picture of joy” throughout the ordeal.

“I hated that dog,” Ms Noem writes, adding that Cricket had proved herself “untrainable”, “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with” and “less than worthless … as a hunting dog”. She writes:“At that moment… I realised I had to put her down.”

She then describes taking her gun and taking the dog to a gravel pit to be executed. “It was not a pleasant job,” she writes, according to the outlet, “but it had to be done”.

Ms Noem then recalls deciding to kill a “nasty and mean” male goat also owned by the family. She describes the uncastrated animal as smelling “disgusting, musky, rancid” and frequently chasing her children and “knocking them down”.

She says she missed the first time she fired and had to return to her truck to retrieve another round of ammunition in order to finish the job.

A construction crew reportedly witnessed her shoot both animals.

Ms Noem seemed unperturbed after the claims were reported in the media – in fact she appeared to double down on Friday, while promoting the book.

“We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm. Sadly, we just had to put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years,” she wrote on X.

“If you want more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping, preorder ‘No Going Back’.”

Others were quick to condemn her. Former White House deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews wrote: “When I saw tweets about Kristi Noem murdering her puppy, I thought to myself, ‘Damn, one of the other VP contenders’ teams found some oppo,’ until I realized SHE wrote about it in HER book.

“I’m not sure why anyone would brag about this unless they’re sick and twisted.”

Rick Wilson, of anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project, wrote: “Kristi Noem is trash.

“Decades with hunting- and bird-dogs, and the number I’ve killed because they were chicken-sharp or had too much prey drive is ZERO. Puppies need slow exposure to birds, and bird-scent. She killed a puppy because she was lazy at training bird dogs, not because it was a bad dog.

“Not every dog is for the field, but 99.9% of them are trainable or re-homeable. We have one now who was never going in the field, but I didn’t kill her. She’s sleeping on the couch.

“You down old dogs, hurt dogs, and sick dogs humanely, not by shooting them and tossing them in a gravel pit. “

In a statement shared with The Independent, Colleen O’Brien, senior director of PETA, said Ms Noem failed to understand “vital” concepts such as “compromise and compassion.”

“Most Americans love their dogs, and we suspect that they will consider Gov Noem a psychotic loony for letting this rambunctious puppy loose on chickens and then punishing her by deciding to personally blow her brains out rather than attempting to train her or find a more responsible guardian who would provide her with a proper home,” Ms O’Brien said.

“Gov. Noem obviously fails to understand the vital political concepts of education, cooperation, compromise, and compassion.”

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