South Dakota Animal Shelter Shades Kristi Noem: 'We Have Yet To Meet' An 'Untrainable' Dog

South Dakota's governor Kristi Noem at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February.
South Dakota's governor Kristi Noem at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February. MANDEL NGAN via Getty Images

An animal sanctuary in South Dakota has dismissed state Gov. Kristi Noem’s suggestion that any dog could be “untrainable,” after the Republican admitted she shot and killed a 14-month-old puppy years ago.

Noem, seen as a potential running mate for GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, recounts in her new book that she killed one of her dogs, a wirehaired pointer, because she was “less than worthless” as a hunting dog.

In her book, Noem writes that she “hated” the dog, Cricket, according to an excerpt obtained by the Guardian. She calls Cricket “untrainable” and “dangerous to anyone she came in contact with.”

Noem, who has been been mocked on late night TV, defended herself on social media, arguing that under South Dakota law, dogs who attack and kill livestock can be put down.

“Given that Cricket had shown aggressive behavior toward people by biting them, I decided what I did,” she said. “Whether running the ranch or in politics, I have never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle. Even if it’s hard and painful. I followed the law and was being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor.”

But one nonprofit in her state took issue with Noem’s suggestion that Cricket was “untrainable”.

Paws Animal Rescue, a shelter based in South Dakota’s capital city of Pierre, said in a Facebook post on Saturday that it had been “flooded with messages” about Noem’s admission.

The sanctuary said it will “not voice our opinion on this specific situation.” But as for untrainable dogs in general?

“In all our years in animal rescue and the thousands of animals that have come through our door, we have yet to meet a dog that was so untrainable it deserved to be shot to death,” the nonprofit wrote in the post.

Some dogs will need more training than others, the post went on. “So we hire a professional trainer, put them into one-on-one foster care, or even send them to a training facility where they can receive the attention and direction they need.”

Other animal rights groups have been sharply critical of Noem. Colleen O’Brien, senior director at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, decried the governor 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.”