Kristi Noem defends killing her dog amid sweeping backlash

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

‘You can’t shoot your dog and then be VP’: GOP Gov. Kristi Noem admits killing her puppy, prompting bipartisan backlash

'I hated that dog.'


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Apr 29, 2024

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) is facing widespread backlash and criticism online after revealing in her forthcoming book that she killed her 14-month-old puppy, Cricket, after she was unable to train her to hunt properly.

“I hated that dog,” Noem writes of the wirehair pointer, according to The Guardian, which obtained an advance copy of the book. The report went on to state that Noem deemed Cricket—who was supposed to help hunt pheasants—”untrainable” but “the picture of pure joy.” Noem ultimately decided to shoot and kill Cricket after the dog attacked a neighbor’s chickens.

The story drew immediate criticism from across the political spectrum.

“She can’t be VP now,” wrote far-right activist and vocal Trump ally Laura Loomer. “You can’t shoot your dog and then be VP.”

“In case it isn’t obvious yet, this story is not landing. It is not a facet of rural life or ranching to shoot dogs,” echoed conservative commentator Tomi Lahren.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) posted a photo of himself giving his dog a treat, captioning it: “Post a picture with your dog that doesn’t involve shooting them and throwing them in a gravel pit. I’ll start.”

In the midst of the backlash, Noem doubled down on Sunday, writing that she understands why some people are upset but justified it again, saying: “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,” she continued. “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.”

But Noem’s defense is doing little to quell the backlash; and as social media users continue to draw attention to the story with memes and jokes, Noem’s odds of joining former President Donald Trump’s 2024 ticket as vice president appear to have dropped substantially.

According to PredictIt, an online market where individuals can make trades based on their predictions of future political events, the bet on Noem becoming the VP pick dropped by 50% from Friday to Saturday, after the story came out. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) has consistently remained the frontrunner on PredictIt.

Attorney Seth Abramson used the debacle to highlight a “Dogs for Biden” yard sign, writing, “RT in honor of the puppy Kristi Noem murdered, Cricket.”

“Kristi Noem out here doubling down on her killing a 14-month old puppy like…” another X user commented along with a “Who Killed Hannibal?” meme.

One Democratic activist said he’d received more than 3,000 photos of dogs from his followers that he plans to mail to Noem.

He showed a photo of him holding the collection of dog pictures with a Facebook-style blue flag that joked, “Marked Safe From Kristi Noem.”

Some high-profile Republicans did not call out Noem by name but appeared to respond with dueling dog photos of their own.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) shared a video of him holding and playing with Essentia, a “lab/shepherd mix who was rescued from the southern border” and is available for adoption from Big Dog Ranch Rescue. And Kari Lake—the former Arizona GOP gubernatorial candidate running for the Senate—shared a picture of her pug, Sushi, on Sunday in honor of Sushi’s birthday.

“She’s brought our family so much joy & tons of laughs over the years,” Lake said. “Jeff and I are so busy on the campaign trail, sometimes I wish we could just bring our Pug along. Should we?!”

The comments on both DeSantis and Lake’s posts are almost exclusively about Noem, with one self-described libertarian quipping in response to the latter: “New rule- my first question to any politician before I vote for them: Do you shoot puppies?”

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*First Published: Apr 29, 2024, 10:10 am CDT