Why Did Kristi Noem Kill Her Own Dog? Everything to Know

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem speaks before former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the stage during a Rally in Vandalia, Ohio, on March 16, 2024. Credit – Kamil Krzaczyński—Getty Images

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, a Republican and reported contender for Donald Trump’s Vice President pick in the 2024 election, has received pushback after admitting to killing her dog in her new memoir.

After obtaining a copy of No Going Back: The Truth on What’s Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward ahead of its publication next month, the Guardian reported that Noem wrote she shot dead Cricket, a 14-month-old dog she had intended to train for hunting pheasant, after the canine ruined a hunt, killed another family’s chickens, and moved to bite her.

Noem said Cricket had an “aggressive personality” and was “untrainable,” per the Guardian’s report. Noem took Cricket on a pheasant hunt with older dogs to try to teach the canine, but Cricket went “out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life.” 

She said she called Cricket, then used an electronic collar to try to control the dog. On the way home, Cricket escaped Noem’s truck and killed the chickens of a local family, who Noem compensated. The dog then “whipped around to bite me,” the politician wrote. 

After that, Noem said, “I realized I had to put her down.” She led Cricket to a gravel pit and shot and killed the dog. 

Noem also killed a male goat that she said was “nasty and mean,” smelled “disgusting, musky, rancid,” and “loved to chase” her children, knocking them down and ruining their clothes. She also killed the goat in the gravel pit, although it reportedly took two shots.

Noem said she told the story about Cricket to show that in politics and life, she was willing to do what was “difficult, messy, and ugly” if it was necessary.

The backlash from Democrats and conservatives alike has been swift. Rick Wilson, who co-founded the anti-Trump PAC The Lincoln Project, criticized on X, formerly Twitter, that Noem “killed a puppy because she was lazy at training bird dogs, not because it was a bad dog.” The Lincoln Project released an ad that said when tough moments come with pets, “shooting your dog in the face is not an option.”

Noem responded to the backlash on Friday in a post on X: “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.”

“If you want more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping, preorder No Going Back,” she concluded, with a link to her book. 

With interest in Noem at an all-time high, here’s what you need to know about the U.S. politician. 

Who is Kristi Noem? 

Noem is the 33rd—and first female—governor of South Dakota, whose motto is “Under God, the People Rule.”

The 52-year-old was born in Watertown, S.D. She’s spoken about how she took on more responsibilities on her family’s farm after her father died in a farming accident. She attended Mount Marty College and Northern State University. She later graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from South Dakota State University in 2011, according to VoteSmart.

Noem is a rancher, farmer, small business owner, and published author, according to her official biography. She joined the South Dakota House of Representatives in 2007, where she served as assistant majority leader, and then the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011. She was elected as governor in 2018 and re-elected in 2022.

Kristi Noem’s husband, children, and grandchildren  

Noem is married to Bryon. His First Gentleman biography says he grew up on a farm near Bryant, S.D., graduated from Northern State University with a degree in business and finance, has operated an insurance agency, and coached basketball. The couple went to high school together and have jointly run a farm and ranch, opened an ice cream shop, and helped manage a family restaurant, according to their biographies.

They have three children—Kassidy, Kennedy, and Booker. Kassidy Peters is married and has two children, according to her X profile. Peters was a real estate appraiser, but turned in her license and dissolved her business in 2021, according to a letter she wrote. A report approved by South Dakota lawmakers in 2022 found that Peters got preferential treatment in her application to get the license, the Associated Press reported.

Her husband, Kyle Peters, is in local politics and was elected to the City Council of Watertown, S.D. last year. He previously worked for his mother-in-law in the Governor’s Office of Economic Development from 2019 to 2021, according to his LinkedIn and news reports.

Kennedy Frick is also married and works as an account executive for an oil and gas consulting firm, according to her LinkedIn. Frick worked for her mother in the Governor’s office from Jan. 2019 to Aug. 2020, when she left to get her masters in business administration, according to her LinkedIn and news reports.

Booker is currently listed on the website of Collision Ministries, a Christian student organization, as the Watertown Area Director. His biography says he previously attended a Christian training school in Hawaii and worked in a ministry in San Francisco.

What is Kristi Noem’s net worth? 

Noem’s precise net worth is unknown. OpenSecrets estimated her net worth at $2.3 million in 2017. ExactNetWorth.com pegged it at around $4.5 million in 2021.

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