Kristi Noem responds after backlash over killing puppy (2024)

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem defended herself on social media on Sunday after facing backlash for her admission that she killed one of her own dogs in a gravel pit after a pheasant hunt trip.

British newspaper The Guardian published an excerpt of Noem's upcoming book, No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward on Friday in which the governor shared an account of shooting the 14-month-old puppy named Cricket, which she wrote had an "aggressive personality."

On the way home from the trip, Cricket escaped Noem's truck and attacked a family's chickens, "grabb[ing] one chicken at a time, crunching it to death with one bite, then dropping it to attack another." This made the chickens' owner cry and Noem paid them while also helping clean the mess the dog had made. She added that when she grabbed Cricket, the dog "whipped around to bite me."

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

The governor also wrote that she "hated that dog," describing it as "untrainable" and "dangerous to anyone she came in contact with."

Since the release of the passage, Noem, a close ally of former President Donald Trump and a possible vice presidential pick, has faced scorn from Republicans and Democrats, alike.

Noem responded to the criticism on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday and wrote: "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. The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned."

Noem also contended that she "followed the law and was being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor."

Kristi Noem responds after backlash over killing puppy (1)

"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. As I explained in the book, it wasn't easy. But often the easy way isn't the right way," she continued.

Chapter 40-34 of South Dakota law under Dog Licenses and Regulations states, "Any person owning, keeping, or harboring a dog that chases, worries, injures, or kills any poultry or domestic animal is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor and is liable for damages to the owner thereof for any injury caused by the dog to any such poultry or animal."

The governor said she believes the book's passage about the death of her puppy shows constituents that she is "authentic."

"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. Whether running the ranch or in politics, I have never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle," Noem wrote on X.

Newsweek has not obtained a copy of the Noem's book and has been unable to verify the reported quotes. Newsweek reached out to Noem for further comment on Sunday through her website.

Read more

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  • Kristi Noem killing a dog will appeal to Donald Trump: Mary Trump
  • Kristi Noem's VP odds crash after dog killing revelation

After Sunday's statement, Noem was met with additional backlash.

Meghan McCain, daughter of the late GOP Senator John McCain of Arizona, wrote on X, "My family has a ranch outside of Sedona — no one has ever shot a dog for any reason. This is not a 'rural/ranch' thing. My Dad's dog 'Burma's' ashes are on our family mantle after he died naturally. What I do know is killing and torturing animals is a trait of a serial killer."

"In her latest statement, Kristi Noem continues to blame the murder victim for his death. Now Cricket in puppy heaven has to endure Kristi Noem defaming him to justify the murder," Ron Filipkowski, a vocal Trump critic and editor-in-chief of MeidasTouch, wrote on X.

"Kristi, sweetie, you could have rehomed the dog. You didn't have to shoot it in the face. P.S. you're never coming back from this," Democratic strategist Ally Sammarco replied to Noem on X.

Asha Rangappa, an attorney and former FBI agent, also wrote on X, "It sounds like out of at least three options 1) train the dog; 2) drive any distance to a shelter; or 3) shoot it on the spot, you literally took the easiest one."

Update 4/28/24, 5:32 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Kristi Noem responds after backlash over killing puppy (2024)
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