Meghan McCain Says Potential VP Kristi Noem Killing a Puppy Is ‘Serial Killer’ Behavior

The daughter of former GOP nominee John McCain took offense at the South Dakota governor’s justification for shooting a dog

Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Referencing potential Donald Trump Vice Presidential pick Kristi Noem’s admission that she shot and killed a 14-month-old puppy on her ranch, on Sunday Meghan McCain tweeted (and then edited) a very pointed message.

“My family has a ranch outside of Sedona — no one has ever shot a dog for any reason,” she wrote. “This is not a thing. My Dad’s dog Burma’s ashes are on our family mantle after he died naturally. What I do know is killing and torturing animals is a trait of a serial killer.”

McCain then edited the tweet five times before she landed on the version that stuck.

“This is not a ‘rural/ranch’ thing,” she added. While keeping most of her comments, she fixed a typo — and cut the “serial killer” reference, changing it to, “This story is something out of a horror movie.”

The edits are all available in her tweet history.

This past week, Noem sparked an outcry after the Guardian revealed in an excerpt from her forthcoming book that she shot and killed Cricket, her 14-month-old dog. Noem took the dog out on a pheasant hunt with older dogs to help her learn the ropes, but instead Cricket was “out of her mind with excitement, chasing all those birds and having the time of her life.” On the way home, Cricket got out of Noem’s truck and attacked a family’s flock of chickens.

“I hated that dog,” she wrote, and described Cricket as “less than worthless … as a hunting dog” before she added, “At that moment I realized I had to put her down.” Noem quickly followed the act by killing another domesticated animal, a goat that was often mean to her children.

Given the public’s love of animals, particularly dogs, Noem’s admission caused a somewhat predictable firestorm of condemnation. She attempted to defend herself on Sunday and tweeted, “I can understand why some people are upset about a 20-year-old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch, in my upcoming book — ‘No Going Back.’ The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned.”

“What I learned from my years of public service, especially leading South Dakota through COVID, is people are looking for leaders who are authentic, willing to learn from the past, and don’t shy away from tough challenges,” she continued. “My hope is anyone reading this book will have an understanding that I always work to make the best decisions I can for the people in my life.”

“The fact is, 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,” Noem asserted, standing firm with her decision.

“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. As I explained in the book, it wasn’t easy. But often the easy way isn’t the right way,” Noem concluded.

Noem is set to be interviewed on next Sunday’s “Face the Nation” promoting her book.

The hashtag #PuppyKiller began to trend Sunday on X (formerly known as Twitter). People filled the hashtag with photos of their own dogs.

Noem’s admission has also sparked interest in South Dakota’s statutes as they pertain to killing dogs. Statute 40-34-1 states, “It shall be lawful for any person to kill any dog found chasing, worrying, injuring, or killing poultry or domestic animals except on the premises of the owners of said dog or dogs.”

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