27 Apr 2024

Donald Trump's vice presidential contender defends killing dog on family farm

5:18 pm on 27 April 2024

By Tim Reid, Reuters

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks before former US President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the stage during a Buckeye Values PAC Rally in Vandalia, Ohio, on March 16, 2024. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP)

Kristi Noem at a Trump fundraising rally in March. Photo: AFP/Kamil Krzaczynski

Kristi Noem, a contender to become Republican Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate, defended herself on Friday against Democratic attacks over her account of shooting a dog on her family farm.

Noem, the governor of South Dakota, describes killing an "untrainable" dog called Cricket which she "hated" in an upcoming memoir, excerpts of which were first published by The Guardian on Friday. She also said she shot to death a goat.

Noem said the dog ruined a hunt and later attacked chickens owned by a local family, behaved like a "trained assassin", and was "dangerous to anyone she came in contact with".

"I realised I had to put her down," Noem writes.

The Democratic National Committee seized on the excerpts, calling them "horrifying" and "disturbing", and tried to make a 2024 election argument about the shooting of the animals.

"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," the DNC said in a statement, giving voice to the dogs.

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

Noem is on a list of candidates being considered by Trump to be his vice presidential running mate, friends and allies of Trump have told Reuters.

Trump faces a general election rematch with Democratic President Joe Biden on 5 November.

Colleen O'Brien, senior director at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), decried Noem's decision to kill the dog.

She criticised Noem for allowing "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 who would provide her with a proper home".

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