Kristi Noem Insists the 14-Month-Old Dog She Shot and Killed “Was Not a Puppy,” as Though That Makes the Story Sound Less Bad

Hello, and welcome to day seven of the “Kristi Noem killed her family dog” news cycle, which the South Dakota governor presumably did not see stretching to a week—and tanking her chances of becoming Donald Trump’s VP—when she decided to include the anecdote about shooting the puppy in a new book.

On Wednesday, Noem went on Sean Hannity’s show to defend herself, claiming, among other things, that:

  • Cricket, the 14-month-old wirehair pointer she shot, was not a “puppy” but a “working dog” (in fact, South Dakota dog trainer Dan Griffith says that “a dog’s not mature until they’re two years old” and won’t be “a good hunter or a great dog until they’re, like, three or four years old”)
  • Cricket was given two chances to prove herself (instead of the standard three), and when she failed she had to be shot
  • The dog-killing story the governor freely included in her book, and has confirmed the details of multiple times now, only sounds bad because the “fake news” put “the worst spin on it”

Unfortunately for Noem, it seem unlikely that she’s going to be able to change the current narrative, which is that she killed a puppy and then weirdly chose to share the gruesome story in graphic detail. To give you an idea of how poorly this has all gone over, even Donald Trump Jr.—who kills endangered species for sport!— knows it’s a bad look. Speaking to former Trump adviser Steven Bannon on Monday, the former first son called the puppy-slaying story “not ideal,” adding: “I read that and I’m like, Who put that in the book? I was like, Your ghost writer must really not like you if they’re gonna include that one. That was rough.”

In related news, Noem’s cruelty toward the pup inspired a bipartisan group of lawmakers to launch the Congressional Dog Lovers Caucus. “Dogs are the only thing on earth that loves you more than they love themselves. Their joy to live brings together Americans from all walks of life and can help nourish bipartisanship in Congress,” Rep. Jared Moskowitz said in a statement. Rep. Nancy Mace, who formed the group with Moskowitz and Rep. Susan Wild, said, “We started this caucus to champion legislation that protects the rights and well-being of dogs, ensuring they receive the care, respect, and recognition they deserve.”

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