May 2, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: House members needle Kristi Noem with launch of "Dog Lovers Caucus"

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, wearing a purple jacket and speaking at a glass podium behind a teleprompter and in front of a large screen broadcasting her speech with the "CPAC" logo.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

A bipartisan group of House members is launching a "Dog Lovers Caucus" in a clear swipe at South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a GOP vice presidential contender.

Why it matters: Noem has faced intense backlash in Congress and on social media for revealing in her new book that she killed a puppy she deemed "untrainable."

  • Noem wrote that she "hated that dog" because it was "dangerous to anyone she came in contact with" and "less than worthless … as a hunting dog," according to a copy of her book obtained by The Guardian.
  • The governor has defended her actions, writing in a post on X that she "can understand why some people are upset," but "I have never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle. Even if it's hard and painful."

Driving the news: Reps. Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.), Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) and Susan Wild (D-Pa.) are launching the group, according to a press release first shared with Axios.

  • The caucus will be "an informal, bipartisan group of Members and staff dedicated to their shared love of dogs for the companionship, friendship, family, and health benefits that they provide," the release said.
  • Moskowitz, in an obvious reference to Noem, said in a statement: "Given recent dog-related news, it's evident that both sides of the aisle reject animal cruelty and support protecting man's best friend."
Reps. Nancy Mace, Jared Moskowitz and Susan Wild in three separate photos with their dogs.
Reps. Nancy Mace, Jared Moskowitz and Susan Wild. Photo: Rep. Jared Moskowitz.

Zoom out: It's far from the only derision has faced from lawmakers in both parties — including former colleagues in the U.S. House — over the story.

  • Former Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), who entered the House with Noem in 2010, cast it as a cautionary tale about how "good people get destroyed by fame and MAGA" in a post on X.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told HuffPost: "I didn't eat my dog. I didn't shoot my dog. I loved my dog, and my dog loved me."
  • Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) told the outlet, "She's obviously not an experienced dog trainer because I've seen ill-behaved dogs are usually a reflection of their owner."

The other side: Some of Noem's fellow South Dakotans have rushed to her defense.

  • Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) told Politico that "life is a little different in rural America" and Noem "handled that with as much humanity for the animal as was needed."
  • Representatives for Noem did not respond to a request for comment.
Go deeper