Did Noem's Dog Story Sink Her Shot at VP?

South Dakota governor continues to take flak over how she killed an inept hunting dog
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2024 7:24 AM CDT
Turns Out a Puppy Killer Isn't a Great Sell for VP
South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem attends an event Jan. 10, 2024, at the state Capitol in Pierre.   (AP Photo/Jack Dura, File)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem may have ruined her chances of becoming Donald Trump's running mate with her confession about shooting an "untrainable" 14-month-old dog who attacked a neighbor's chickens, onlookers say. Did she break the law? Did she think Trump would be impressed? Here's what to know:

  • Cruella De Vil: At the Washington Post, Alexandra Petri assumes the voice of 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella De Vil to applaud Noem's actions. "You are a visionary! But these small minds call us sociopaths!" she writes. But upon realizing Noem didn't utilize the dog's fur, Cruella takes it all back. "You shot a dog just—because? What kind of monster are you?"

  • Stephen Colbert: "Who among us hasn't seen a dog running through the fields, not a care in the world, and thought, 'You deserve to die'?" the Late Show host asked Monday. At one point, he brought out a spray bottle. "No! Bad, psycho governor! No! Sit down! Bad! Stay! Stay away from dogs!" he shouted, per the New York Times. He also offered alternative titles for Noem's memoir, including "Old Yeller 2: He Had It Coming."
  • Professional opinion: Professional hunting dog trainer Dan Lussen says it's irrational to put down a pheasant-hunting dog who goes after chickens. As a pup, the dog wouldn't know the difference between the two animals, he tells Rolling Stone.

  • Legality: Per the Guardian, Noem appears to have violated a state law against owning a dog that harasses or kills poultry, but also another law stating a person is allowed to kill such a dog "except on the premises of the owners of said dog or dogs." Noem said she killed the dog on her own property.
  • A bad bet?: In sharing the story, and another about killing three horses, some see Noem as "deliberately sabotaging her VP chances," per Semafor. Others wonder if she was "making a bet dog-killing would look tough to Trump."
  • VP out the window?: "Trump isn't a dog person necessarily, but I think he understands that you can't choose a puppy killer as your [VP] pick, for blatantly obvious reasons," a source close to Trump tells the New York Post. The source adds Noem's chance of being selected as Trump's VP was low before, but now it's "impossible."
(More Kristi Noem stories.)

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