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Trump VP contender Kristi Noem responds to backlash over story about killing her dog

Former President Donald Trump greets South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem at a rally hosted by the South Dakota Republican Party on Sept. 8 in Rapid City, S.D.
Scott Olson
Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump greets South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem at a rally hosted by the South Dakota Republican Party on Sept. 8 in Rapid City, S.D.

Kristi Noem, a contender for Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, defended herself after her story saying she had killed a dog on her farm drew condemnation from Democrats and animal rights groups.

In her forthcoming memoir, the South Dakota governor describes killing an "untrainable" family dog after a hunting trip, reported The Guardian, which said it obtained a copy of the book, No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward.

Noem said "Cricket," a 14-month-old wirehaired pointer, was a female with an "aggressive personality," according to The Guardian.

During a pheasant-hunting trip, the dog went "out of her mind with excitement," and later attacked another family's chickens. And when she went to grab Cricket, Noem says, the dog bit her.

"I hated that dog," Noem wrote in the excerpt. The dog was "dangerous to anyone she came in contact with" and "less than worthless" as a hunting dog.

"I realized I had to put her down," she wrote. The newspaper did not say when Noem said the incident occurred.

According to The Guardian, Noem said she included the grisly story to demonstrate her readiness in politics to do what needs to be done, even if it's "difficult, messy and ugly."

Animal welfare organizations decried Noem for killing the dog.

Wayne Pacelle, the president of Animal Wellness Action, said: "There's no rational and plausible excuse for Noem shooting a juvenile dog for normal puppy-like behavior."

"Raising and caring for a dog takes patience and kindness," he said in a statement. "Tens of millions of Americans who know and love dogs have to wonder about a person who expresses hatred for a young female dog and kills her."

Colleen O'Brien, senior vice president at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), denounced the governor for "letting this rambunctious puppy loose on chickens and then punishing her by deciding to personally blow her brains out rather than attempting to train her or find a more responsible guardian."

Democrats also slammed Noem, while holding it up as an example of how "extreme and dangerous" Trump and his allies are.

In a statement shared with The Hill, the Democratic National Committee said: "If you want elected officials who don't brag about brutally killing their pets as part of their self-promotional book tour, then listen to our owners — and vote Democrat."

On Friday, Noem defended her decision to put down the dog.

"We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm," she wrote in a post on X. "Sadly, we just had to put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years."

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