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South Dakota

Who is Kristi Noem? What we know about the Trump VP contender and why she killed a dog

Julia Gomez

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has been a topic of online chatter after excerpts from her upcoming memoir were published by The Guardian on Friday.

In her book, "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward," Noem details how she put a dog down for being "untrainable."

The confession caught the attention and criticism from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

"Dogs are a gift from God," tweeted Alyssa Farah Griffin, co-host of "The View" and former Donald Trump White House staffer. "They’re a reflection of his unconditional love. Anyone who would needlessly hurt an animal because they are inconvenient needs help."

 The Democratic National Committee called the excerpts from the book "horrifying" and "disturbing."

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Gov. Kristi Noem, a VP-hopeful pictured here at a campaign for Donald Trump, receives criticisms for confessing she killed her "untrainable" dog in her memoir.

Amid the backlash, Noem responded saying she understands "why some people are upset about a 20-year-old story," but defended the decision to kill the dog.

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

Noem is a contender to become Trump's vice presidential running mate. Here's what we know about the governor.

Who is Gov. Kristi Noem?

According to the governor's website, Noem, who is the governor of South Dakota, is also a rancher, farmer and small business owner.

She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and elected as South Dakota's first female governor in 2018.

Today, she is also a New York Times best selling author. In January 2022, she published her first book, "Not My First Rodeo: Lessons from the Heartland," and the website states she was re-elected as governor with the "largest vote total in the history of South Dakota."

Could Kristi Noem run with Donald Trump?

The governor is a contender to become Trump's vice presidential running mate, but recent polling from New River Strategies, which was published by Politico, states that only 14% of Americans consider her to be a good choice for the Republican ticket.

The report also states that 86% of 2020 Trump voters report liking or loving dogs and that 39% of them do not believe she would be a good choice for vice president. Only 22% said she would be.

Why did Kristi Noem kill her dog Cricket?

According to The Guardian, Noem said she killed her dog because of its “aggressive personality” and called the dog "untrainable."

In her book, she writes that the dog's name was Cricket and that she was a 14-month-old Wirehair Pointer. According to the RSPCA, puppies become adolescent dogs between 6 and 12 months old or 18 to 24 months.

The American Kennel Club rates the dog breed as "love-dovey" when it comes to how affectionate they are with family.

In her post on X, Noem said that South Dakota law states that 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 wrote.

She added: "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."

What is Kristi Noem's new book?

According to its description, Noem's book "No Going Back" shares "eye-opening realities of DC dysfunction, lessons from leading her state through unprecedented challenge, and how we seize this moment to move America forward."

On X, she said the book "is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned."

It's set to release on May 7.

Some people outraged by the controversy are already dropping negative reviews of the book on GoodReads.

Contributing: Tim Reid, Reuters

Julia is a trending reporter for USA TODAY. She has covered various topics, from local businesses and government in her hometown, Miami, to tech and pop culture. You can follow her on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram and TikTok: @juliamariegz

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