The South Dakota Governor Shoots Dogs, Doesn’t She?

Eric Green


Apparently, auditioning for a role in the sequel to the 1969 movie, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem has revealed to the world that she used a shotgun to kill her family dog. And her Billy goat.


In her new book, No Going Back, Noem said that she grabbed her gun and led the dog to a gravel pit on her farm where she shot the critter, named Cricket, in cold blood. It isn’t clear when exactly she committed this deed.


Noem accused the dog of being “extremely dangerous” and “way too aggressive” in attacking her children.


The governor, considered a potential vice-presidential running mate for Donald Trump in the 2024 election, described Cricket as “less than worthless” and “untrainable.” Obviously, she did not abide by the old adage that a dog is man’s (or woman’s) best friend.



As for what she described as the “demon” Billy goat, Noem said the nameless animal often chased and knocked down her children. She dragged the goat to that same gravel pit and tied him to a post. The goat had a “wretched smell,” she said. That was apparently enough to “put him down,” although he didn’t go down easily. Noem said she needed two gunshots to “finish him off.”


Jiminy Cricket, you have to wonder why Noem kept talking about the killings in interviews all over the media, as if they were a noble act. Of course, before she canceled several media appearances on May 8, she went around the talk show circuit in order to promote her book. Maybe, she was also catering to voters, and especially to Trump, who are in favor of gun rights, to stress that she too is a gun owner. Or appealing to people who dislike dogs. Or goats.

Noem says that unlike her, most politicians run from the truth, and hide from making tough decisions.


“I don’t do either” of those things, she said.



I guess that dead dog and goat, if they could speak in the afterlife, would certainly agree with that boast.


Noem may be shooting herself in the foot (no pun intended) if she’s aiming for higher office, like the vice presidency.


My friend Bart said the governor might have forgotten that what unites Americans in these fractious times is a love of dogs. “You mess with dogs at your own peril,” Bart said.


Even fellow political conservatives such as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have denounced her for shooting Cricket. “Killing the dog and then writing about it ended any possibility of her being picked as VP,” Gingrich said.



Noem tried to deflect criticism of her by attacking President Biden’s dog Commander, who she said has assaulted 24 Secret Service officers.


Interviewed May 5 on the Face the Nation news show, Noem said, “How many people is enough people to be attacked and dangerously hurt before you make a decision on a dog?” Asked then whether Commander should be shot, Noem deferred by saying Biden should be held accountable for what his dog did.


If Noem were to ever move to Washington, she better remember what they say about the dog-eat-dog lifestyle of the nation’s capital: If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. Now she’ll have to get another one after getting rid of Cricket.


Some pundits have suggested that the governor broke South Dakota state law about animal cruelty and that she should be prosecuted for a Class 6 felony, which is classified as a hate crime punishable by up to two years in jail and $4,000 in fines. 



Whether she’s prosecuted or not, history might serve as a lesson to Noem about the consequences of mistreating dogs.


In April 1964, President Lyndon Johnson was walking his beagles Him and Her across the White House grounds when he encouraged Him to bark for his guests, and then lifted the dog up by the ears. Soon, Johnson was disliked by dog lovers everywhere. He later apologized.


And who can forget former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney professing love for Seamus, his Irish Setter, after he went on a 1983 road trip and for 12 hours his terrified dog was confined to a carrier on the car roof? Romney was “hounded” with media and political attacks when he ran for president. At least “I didn’t shoot my dog,” Romney said. “I loved my dog, and my dog loved me.”


In contrast, President Franklin Roosevelt certainly used his Scottish terrier, Fala, to advantage in what was called a political dog fight. In 1944, Fala was with the president on a trip to the Aleutian Islands when false rumors circulated that the dog was accidentally left on one of the islands, and that the Navy had to send a ship back to retrieve him. Republican leaders falsely claimed the Democratic president spent millions of taxpayers' dollars to get Fala back.



Roosevelt said Republicans "have not been content with attacks on me, or my wife, or on my sons. No, not content with that, they now include my little dog, Fala. Well, of course, I don't resent attacks, and my family doesn't resent attacks, but Fala does resent them."


My warning to Governor Noem is to read George Orwell’s Animal Farm, which relates how animals rise up in rebellion against their two-legged enemies


I say to Noem: Beware of the other animals on your farm in South Dakota. They might not be thrilled about what you did to defenseless Cricket and decide to get even by following the credo that every dog has its day.


Author Bio:

Eric Green, a Highbrow Magazine contributor, is a former newspaper reporter, U.S. congressional press aide, English-as-a-second-language teacher, and now a freelance writer in the Washington D.C. area. His articles have appeared in various newspapers and websites, including the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun.


For Highbrow Magazine


Photo Credits: DonkeyHote (Wikimedia Commons);; Wikipedia Commons; Wikipedia Commons.


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