In Upcoming Book, Gov Kristi Noem Describes Shooting Her Own Dog – Will It Damage Her VP Chances?

Country folks sometimes have to deal with things in ways that their urban counterparts don’t quite understand. I remember when my mother had a small dog she had picked up somewhere; a friendly little thing, good-natured, not very smart, but she loved the little mutt. But in time, it got old and sick, then a swelling on one side of its head and a protruding eye, along with what became constant whines of pain, prompted a call to the vet – who was 80 miles away. The vet said it sounded like a brain tumor, not at all unusual in a dog that was 15 years old.

Mom and Dad talked about what to do. The vet was a long way away. The poor dog was suffering. So Dad did what had to be done; he took the suffering animal outside, took his .22 rifle, and carefully, quickly, painlessly put the animal out of its misery. They buried it at the edge of Mom’s garden.

Now, in her upcoming book “No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward,” South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem describes an episode in which she had to shoot a family dog – this one a hunting dog:

In the book, Noem, who has been discussed as a possible running mate for former President Trump, describes growing angry with the nearly 14-month-old “Cricket,” a wirehaired pointer, during a hunting trip.
Noem shot the dog after taking it on a pheasant hunt.
She writes that she had taken Cricket on the hunt hoping she would learn from older dogs, but that instead the younger dog ruined the hunt by “chasing all those birds and having the time of her life,” per the Guardian.

The dog had, as Gov. Noem described it, a behavioral problem, including one episode in which it killed chickens; in many rural areas, a dog that kills stock is subject to a death sentence for that alone:

On the way home, the dog escaped her truck and attacked a local family’s chickens, “grabb[ing] one chicken at a time, crunching it to death with one bite, then dropping it to attack another,” Noem wrote.
When Noem tried to grab the dog, she wrote that it whipped around to bite her. Noem said she wrote the family a check for their chickens and helped them dispose of the carcasses “littering the scene of the crime.”
“I hated that dog,” she wrote, adding that Cricket was untrainable, dangerous and worthless as a hunting dog.
“At that moment,” Noem wrote, “I realized I had to put her down.”

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The Governor goes on to describe shooting the dog on the edge of a gravel pit.

There isn’t enough detail here to accurately judge Noem’s actions. The dog wasn’t just misbehaving; it had killed stock and threatened to bite. The fact that the dog killed chickens is a big factor; in my own, rural Iowa youth, it was accepted that if a dog attacked stock, it was put down; if a dog bit a child (or, indeed, anyone without cause), it was put down; if a dog was allowed to run loose and ran [after] deer, or sheep, or cattle, it was put down. A dog or dogs can run deer or sheep to death, and at different times my father, my brother, and I all had to shoot dogs that were engaged in running deer.

Those dogs were generally put down by shooting them. It was an unpleasant task, nobody enjoyed it, but it was necessary. My grandfather used to use the phrase, “He can shoot his own dog,” to describe anyone with the admirable capacity to be able to act when faced with an unpleasant choice.

With that said – well, people love dogs. Many people don’t understand (or don’t care) about the different choices rural people have to deal with. And while Gov. Noem has been oft-touted as a possible running mate for former President Trump in the 2024 campaign, this incident could damage her chances. It’s an easy thing for the left to toss at her, to imply that she wasn’t a woman from a farm family faced with a difficult choice, but a callous, heartless person who shot a dog who was misbehaving.

That’s politics. It’s a tough business. A political career can be ruined by one choice–but it remains to be seen whether this will be one of those.



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