Kristi Noem defends killing her dog, says people want "leaders who are authentic"

The South Dakota Republican has been criticized by all sides for confessing to the killing of her 14-month-old pet

Published April 29, 2024 9:37AM (EDT)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (Getty Images)
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (Getty Images)

South Dakota governor and GOP vice presidential prospect Kristi Noem has responded to critics outraged over a story she tells in a new memoir about her killing a young dog, an act she called an "unpleasant job" that "needed to be done."

"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," Noem wrote Sunday on X. "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."

The best decision for her, in one case, was shooting her 14th-month-old wirehair pointer, "Cricket," because the pup was disobedient on a pheasant hunting trip, "chasing all those birds and having the time of her life." The dog also later attacked and killed a neighbor's chickens, Noem wrote in the memoir. "I hated that dog,” she wrote, adding that Cricket was “untrainable," “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with” and “less than worthless … as a hunting dog."

Noem also recalled killing a family goat, who she said was "nasty and mean" and loved to chase her children, knocking them down and ruining their clothes.

Whatever she intended to demonstrate, the bipartisan backlash swiftly followed the reporting on the anecdote, included in Noem's book, "No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward," which will be released in May.

"Anyone who has ever owned a birddog knows how disgusting, lazy and evil this is," said Ryan Busse, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Montana.

"Now my blood is boiling," wrote the MAGA influencer Catturd. "Remember, I’m a country boy who lives on a ranch. There’s a huge difference between putting an old horse down who is suffering, than shooting a 18 month dog for being untrainable. But then to plug your book at the end ... I have no words."

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