Kristi Noem Details Executing ‘Less Than Worthless’ Puppy in New Book

kristi noem shoots dog

If there’s anything a politician should avoid saying in public, it’s that they murdered a perfectly healthy puppy. But to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem — who is seen as one of the top contenders to be Donald Trump’s running mate — a willingness to shoot a dog who was “the picture of pure joy” proves her governmental chops. 

In No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward — Noem’s forthcoming book which was reviewed by The Guardian — Noem describes in excruciating detail the brief life of Cricket, a 14-month-old wire-haird pointer puppy she intended to use as a pheasant-hunting dog. 

Noem describes Cricket as having an “aggressive” personality she hoped to calm by taking the dog on a hunt. According to the governor, Cricket didn’t so much hunt as have “the time of her life” chasing birds and going “out of her mind with excitement.” 

This would not do for Noem, who attempted to rein in Cricket with verbal commands and a shock collar before declaring the hunt a wash because an untrained puppy had a playful romp rather than read its owner’s mind. 

On their way home, Noem made a pit stop at the home of some locals who owned chickens. Cricket, fresh off her joyous bird-chasing romp, escaped the truck and began terrorizing the chickens, Noem writes. 

“Like a trained assassin,” Noem writes, Cricket began “grabb[ing] one chicken at a time, crunching it to death with one bite, then dropping it to attack another.” While it is legal in South Dakota to kill a “dog found chasing, worrying, injuring, or killing poultry or domestic animals,” it’s by no means required, and there’s no indication the owners of the chicken made any such demand. 

According to The Guardian’s review, multiple chickens lost their lives before Noem finally intervened to restrain Cricket, who she described as “the picture of joy” throughout the ordeal. When the governor attempted to grab her dog, Cricket allegedly made to bite her. They say dogs are like their owners, and after paying the distraught family for the value of their chickens, Noem was apparently seized by a similar deadly urge.

“I hated that dog,” Noem recalls, calling Cricket, “less than worthless as a hunting dog,” “untrainable,” and “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with.”

“At that moment […] I realized I had to put her down,” the governor recalls. 

Noem dragged Cricket to a gravel pit, and shot her dead in front of a startled construction crew. “It was not a pleasant job but it had to be done,” she recounts, “and after it was over, I realized another unpleasant job needed to be done.”

The governor then decided that another one of her animals was deserving of summary execution — a mean old “disgusting, musky, rancid” goat who sometimes chased her children and messed up their clothes. Pretty normal behavior if you’ve ever been around a goat but in Noem’s eyes, a capital offense. But unlike Cricket’s mercifully quick death, Noem botched her first shot at the goat, and was forced to run back to her truck for more ammo to finish off the wounded animal. 

Dan Lussen, a professional hunting dog trainer, told Rolling Stone that a 14-month-old dog is a “baby that doesn’t know any better.” 

“To me, it’s a lack of guidance by the owner, or training by the owner, or discipline of the owner,” he says, explaining that young bird-hunting dogs in training often go through a slow process of introduction to dead fowl before even being around gunshots. “There’s a lot of steps that you take before you take it to a field and shoot birds over it. And then there’s obedience training. Does the dog know how to come when it’s called? Does the dog know how to sit and wait?” 

“Why would you put a dog down with these instincts? It’s a hunting dog, and you got chickens — he doesn’t know the difference,” Lussen adds. In his experience, dogs are similar to racehorses in that not “all of them will make it to great stakes,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad. 

Training requires “consistency” he adds. “And it could be an inconvenience to be consistent, or its laziness on the owner’s part. Dogs are lifelong learners, and some [people] think they’re people but they’re not.” 

Governor Noem’s office did not respond to questions from Rolling Stone attempting to clarify if she sought professional training for Cricket before cutting the young animal’s life short. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Noem wrote that while “we love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm,” adding that she’d recently had to “put down 3 horses a few weeks ago that had been in our family for 25 years.” 

Shortly after the bloody scene of Cricket and the goat’s demise unfolded, Noem’s children were dropped off from school. 


“Hey, where’s Cricket?” she recalls her daughter asking. 

We can only imagine the effect learning your mom shot your dog might have on a child.

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