‘I hated that dog’: Did Donald Trump’s potential running mate Kristi Noem really kill her own puppy?

Warning: This article contains sensitive mentions of animal cruelty. Please proceed with caution.

Donald Trump may be one of the least popular figures in politics at the moment, but a new name has emerged as a temporary crown-stealer, and it belongs to none other than one of Trump’s potential running mates.

Kristi Noem — a Republican who has served as the governor of South Dakota since 2019 and is also expected to be in the race for Trump’s vice-presidential running mate — has been receiving an influx of bipartisan backlash over an anecdote in her upcoming biography No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward.

The anecdote in question details how, roughly 20 years ago while living on her family farm that she resided at with her husband and children (it’s unclear how many of her three children were born at that point), she shot and killed the 14-month-old family dog, Cricket, who Noem called “untrainable,” “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with,” and “less than worthless” as a hunting dog. As if that wasn’t enough, she also killed a goat on the farm later that day.

Her decision came after bringing Cricket on a pheasant hunting trip (Noem hunted frequently back then, and purchased/hoped to train Cricket to hunt pheasants) with a group of older dogs, a hunt that was quickly botched after Cricket began excitedly chasing the pheasants.

On the way home, she stopped to talk to a local family, after which Cricket jumped out of her truck, killed two of said family’s chickens, and also bit Noem when she went to grab Cricket and get her under control.

After this, Noem brought Cricket to a gravel pit and shot her dead. Her daughter Kennedy, who arrived home from school later that day, was reportedly distressed by Noem’s actions.

Noem has since defended killing Cricket, saying that she shared the story in her book to demonstrate her willingness to make the “difficult, messy, and ugly” decisions that must be made. All she succeeded in demonstrating, however, was monstrous cowardice.

Let’s assume that Cricket did, in fact, have no merits as a hunting dog, and was, by the standards of someone who does not train dogs professionally, untrainable to the point of being dangerous to other people, such as her children, or her farm livestock.

Any sensible parent or farmer would, of course, want to protect their family, and so Noem should have re-homed Cricket; if not to a non-farming family that respected Cricket’s space as an animal and didn’t try forcing her to be something she wasn’t, then at least to a shelter where her life wouldn’t be put in danger.

Instead, Noem killed Cricket, and she recounted the tale using such phrases as “I hated that dog” and “At that moment, I realized I had to put her down.” In late April 2024, she pointed to South Dakota state law as a defense; if a dog attacks and kills livestock, it can be put down.

In other words, Noem was vehemently angry at Cricket for being bad at something that Cricket clearly had no interest in being good at, emotions were running high for her after Cricket’s latest failure, and so she killed Cricket because she was legally allowed to do so after the dog attacked the unnamed family’s chickens.

It’s certainly a quicker, less difficult action than the rehoming process, so long as there’s no compassion for yourself, the dog, and others who may love the dog getting in the way.

These are not the actions of someone who is willing to make the tough, “difficult, messy, and ugly” decisions; they are the actions of a person who is unable to control their emotions brought on by their own completely selfish expectations, and who has no trouble putting their humanity and empathy aside to take it out on other lives (even if those lives are valued by their daughter), so long as it’s convenient for them and South Dakota state law allows it.

How Noem thought that including such a story would paint her as anything other than an apathy-drenched, emotionally-infantile brute who is not at all equipped to lead is almost as disturbing as the act itself.

To have shared this with such confidence that she’d be received as a stoic decision-maker is a terrifying indicator of what she might think of the American public, whether it’s those who would be willing to vote for her, or those who, figuratively or otherwise, she would treat like Cricket.

Noem’s actions have no place in any value system, conservative or otherwise, and you’d be wise to lead by example on this front. Your move, GOP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *