South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem addresses dog killing controversy

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem – who has been considered to be a potential running mate for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump – addressed on Sunday the recent attention on her new book where she writes about killing an unruly dog and a goat.

The Guardian obtained a copy of Noem’s soon-to-be-released book, “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move American Forward.” Noem is scheduled to be interviewed on “Face the Nation” next week about her upcoming book, set to be released on May 7. 

In it, she tells the story of the ill-fated Cricket, a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer she was training for pheasant hunting.

Kristi Noem Book Dog Killing
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem attends an event Jan. 10, 2024, at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D.

Jack Dura / AP

She writes, according to the Guardian, that the tale was included to show her willingness to do anything “difficult, messing and ugly” if it has to be done. The backlash was swift against the Republican governor and on Sunday, she addressed the issue on social media. 

“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,” she wrote in a post on X, the platform formally known as Twitter. The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned.

In her book, Noem writes that she took Cricket on a hunting trip with older dogs in hopes of calming down the wild puppy. Instead, Cricket chased the pheasants while “having the time of her life.”

On the way home from the hunting trip, Noem writes that she stopped to talk to a family. Cricket got out of Noem’s truck and attacked and killed some of the family’s chickens, then bit the governor.

On Sunday, she defended her decision to kill the dog, saying that “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,” Noem wrote. 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.”

In the book, Noem also writes that her family also owned a “nasty and mean” male goat that smelled bad and liked to chase her kids. She decided to go ahead and kill the goat, too. She writes that the goat survived the first shot, so she went back to the truck, got another shell, then shot him again, killing him.

The excerpts drew immediate criticism on social media platforms, where many posted photos of their own pets. President Joe Biden’s reelection campaign surfaced the story on social media alongside a photo of Noem with Trump.

It’s not the first time Noem has grabbed national attention.

A month ago when she posted an infomercial-like video about cosmetic dental surgery she received out-of-state.

In a nearly five-minute video on X, she praised a team of cosmetic dentists in Texas for giving her a smile she said she can be proud of. “I love my new family at Smile Texas!” she wrote.

In 2019, she stood behind the state’s anti-meth campaign even as it became the subject of some mockery for the tagline “Meth. We’re on it.” Noem said the campaign got people talking about the methamphetamine epidemic and helped lead some to treatment.

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