05/28/2024

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Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem noticeably provides herself legal cover after ‘puppy murderer’ outrage over book anecdote of killing ‘less than worthless’ hunting dog

FILE – South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem attends an event Jan. 10, 2024, at the state Capitol in Pierre, S.D. The Guardian has obtained a copy of Noem’s soon-to-be released book, where she writes about killing an unruly dog, and a smelly goat, too. She writes, according to the Guardian, that the tale was included to show her willingness to do anything “difficult, messy and ugly.” (AP Photo/Jack Dura, File)

South Dakota’s Republican Gov. Kristi Noem, in an apparent attempt to position herself as someone who can make tough choices as she guns for a shot at being former President Donald Trump’s running mate, penned a book that included an anecdote about a time she shot and killed her 14-month-old wirehaired pointer in a pit after a hunting trip, believing it had to be done. After numerous people responded to the story of Cricket’s death by calling Noem a “puppy murderer,” the governor replied by providing herself legal cover for the act.

In the book excerpt, the Guardian reported, Noem wrote that she “hated” Cricket, a dog she called “untrainable,” “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with” and “less than worthless … as a hunting dog,” so she “realized [she] had to put her down.”

The governor, in one response to the outrage, said putting Cricket down in that way was what life on a farm is like.

“We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm. Sadly, we just had to put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years,” Noem said in one post, urging purchases of her forthcoming book. “If you want more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping, preorder ‘No Going Back.’”

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    In another post, Noem acknowledged that “some people” were upset about the story — and she specified that it happened two decades ago, seeming to place the incident well beyond the statute of limitations.

    “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 wrote. “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. 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.”

    Noem additionally cited South Dakota law in support of her decision.

    “The fact is, South Dakota law states that dogs who attack and kill livestock can be put down,” she said. “Given that Cricket had shown aggressive behavior toward people by biting them, I decided what I did.”

    The reported book excerpt had said that Cricket tried to bite Noem and attacked her chickens.

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    South Dakota notes that an exemption to animal cruelty laws is the “destruction of dangerous animals.” The law specifies that “[a]ny humane killing of an animal” and “[a]ny reasonable action taken by a person for the destruction or control of an animal known to be dangerous, a threat, or injurious to life, limb, or property” are exempt from prosecution.

    While many apparently disagree that the killing was “humane” or “reasonable,” it may not matter given how long ago Noem claims this happened.

    “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,” the governor stated in her defense. “As I explained in the book, it wasn’t easy. But often the easy way isn’t the right way.”

    The post Kristi Noem noticeably provides herself legal cover after ‘puppy murderer’ outrage over book anecdote of killing ‘less than worthless’ hunting dog first appeared on Law & Crime.