Kristi Noem, the governor of South Dakota, is being widely criticized for shooting and killing her dog Cricket twenty years ago. She was even criticized for doing that in a column in Broad + Liberty.  In my opinion, Noem’s mistake was not in killing the “puppy”, but in not eating it afterward. No one criticized Obama when he admitted that he had eaten dog meat.  

Noem claims that the fourteen-month-old dog was vicious and could not be trusted around her children. Thus, she says, he had to be put down. Maybe, maybe not. But if she had eaten him afterward she could have claimed that she is no worse than the rest of us.  

Let’s be honest here. Every day we kill innocent baby sheep (lambs), and innocent baby cows (calves), butcher them, throw them on the grill as lamb chops or veal chops, and eat them. If you don’t believe me just walk into your nearest Acme or Giant, and go over to the meat counter. There, you can find Mary’s little lamb all cut up and packaged in non-biodegradable plastic.  

So, apparently, we shed tears over a vicious dog, but smack our lips at the thought of devouring that cute little lamb’s chops.  

It is my understanding that there are countries in the world where they still eat dogs. I don’t know if they distinguish between puppies and full grown dogs, and I don’t know whether it matters. So I guess it all boils (pardon the pun) down to the question of the species of animal we think it is okay to kill and eat. Apparently, if a fisherman catches a baby fish, he has to throw it back. Only fish of a certain size can be taken home for eating. Isn’t it odd that little fish are safe, but not little lambs?

Recently, we learned that according to President Biden his uncle was eaten by cannibals. Those cannibals got a bad rap. They didn’t kill his uncle, they only ate him. According to the President, his uncle was like roadkill. No sense in letting all that protein go to waste.

According to the Hebrew Scriptures even the Almighty had some rules about what the Hebrews were allowed to eat. Orthodox Jews adhere to those rules even today. Shrimp can’t be eaten, but not because they are small. Even jumbo shrimp aren’t kosher. Shellfish are on the verboten list. To be kosher it has to have fins and scales. So a good looking fish can be eaten, but an ugly crab can’t. Apparently, looks aren’t the criteria. The rule for animals is that they must have a split hoof and chew their cud. Despite having a split hoof, pigs don’t make the cut since they don’t chew their cud. The cute little piglets won’t make it onto the seder plate.

The Hebrews also had some rules about what you could eat together. As good as it may taste, a pepperoni pizza isn’t allowed. Two rules go against it. First, the pepperoni is from a pig. Second, if the pizza has cheese, it violates the rule against cooking a kid in its mother’s milk. This second rule somehow allows fish and eggs to be consumed with milk, but prohibits a slice of cheddar on your hamburger.  

Apparently, we don’t get emotional about eating fruits and vegetables. Baby carrots are okay to eat. It may be that they really aren’t babies. A Google search on the subject will get you a variety of answers. But you can do almost anything with fruits and vegetables, and not get knocked out of consideration for Vice President. If they have shells, you can crack them and snack them. You can slice and dice them. You can boil and fry them. You can eat them raw, cooked, or pickled.  

Otto von Bismarck reportedly once said that “a people should not know how laws and sausage are made.” Apparently, there are some people who, with full knowledge of what goes into it, will eat scrapple. Some of those same people won’t touch liver and onions. I loved liver and onions as a child, although the thought of eating organs turns me off today. Also, I didn’t know it was calves’ liver my mother used.  

But getting back to dogs, I go walking on trails a lot. A lot of people I pass are walking their dogs. It is the rare dog that does not want to come over to me, a perfect stranger, wagging its tail and seeking some human physical contact. Dogs love people. They practically demand human affection. So Kristi’s Cricket must have been an unusual dog. It killed a farmer’s chickens. It bit her. It doesn’t sound like the kind of dog anyone would want near a baby or toddler in the home. She, obviously, considered it vicious.

So I doubt that she took much comfort in the thought that it would have to be put down. I’m sure that she felt bad about having to do it. Killing her dog could not have given her much comfort. She undoubtedly enjoyed it a lot less than your next bite of lamb.

Howard Lurie is Emeritus Professor of Law, Charles Widger School of Law, Villanova University

2 thoughts on “Howard Lurie: Kristi Noem killed her dog”

  1. This is a stupid attempt at equivalence. We bond with dogs and have actually evolved and adapted to have them in our familial units foe protection amd hunting.

    It’s not the same as sheep or lamb.

    This woman is a putz. The outrage over her shooting a dog she deemed a threat was reasonable. Move along.

    1. It was 14 month old dog that was still very immature. There are no bad dogs, there are bad owners and Kristi Noem is one. Ms. Noem allowed a young dog that like to chase things to be off leash around chickens, its snapped at her because she failed to socialize it, and did not set boundaries. Ms. Noem could have easily hired a trainer to overcome these issues and chose not to. She could have found a dog rescue that would take this dog from her and work with the dog.

      Kristi Noem chose to make bad decisions and asks us to take her word for it. She refused to exhaust all options and that tells me how dangerous she is as a person and a politician. Kristi Noem had this published in her book to show she can male hard decisions, instead all she showed was a how heartless she is.

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