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O. Zone: Noem on the range cruelty doesn’t fly here in Colorado

May 3, 2024, 9:36 am

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem shot a dog similar to this wire haired pointer (AKC photo).

Clearly, cruelty is part of Donald Trump’s political appeal. From his attacks on women to his overt racism to his disparagement of disabled people and members of the military, Trump revels in viciousness, and apparently so do the more than 74 million Americans who voted for him in 2020. But now his routine and popular inhumanity toward humans seems to extend to animals.

Trump vice presidential hopeful and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is coming back to the dog-loving state of Colorado this weekend ahead of headlines like this one recently on the Colorado Times Recorder website: “Puppy Killer Kristi Noem Still Headlining Jeffco GOP Dinner”.

Kristi Noem

In her book “No Going Back”, reportedly to show her toughness and willingness to do anything “difficult, messy and ugly” in politics and life, Noem writes about shooting and killing family pets (a dog and goat) rather than incurring the cost to properly train the animals or dispose of them humanely. She now says it was a working dog (so, her employee), and defends the slayings as choosing “the safety of my children.”

Last August, Noem came to the controversial Freedom Conference at the Park Hyatt hotel in Beaver Creek after a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border — a “warlike” area she said needs more of her state’s National Guard troops. Echoing “invasion” rhetoric that has led to mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Buffalo, N.Y., Noem parrots the demonizing demagoguery of Trump – the grandson of German immigrants who now says immigrants are poisoning America’s blood.

More than 30% of Eagle County residents identify as Hispanic or Latino, and, both economically and culturally, they have built and bolstered this place for many decades and helped make Vail and Beaver Creek international tourism destinations. The Freedom Conference Noem attended last summer, thanks in part to the Eagle County GOP’s embrace, is a hive of conspiracy-mongering that’s now a blight on the reputation of the resort and its host Park Hyatt hotel.

Trump, who lost the 2020 election in Eagle County by 30% and Colorado by 13%, once infamously said, “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” Politically, perhaps Noem should have written about shooting humans instead of dogs and goats, because she’s now reportedly slipping off Trump’s VP short list.

Maybe abusing animals isn’t quite as cool as threatening humans, even in Trump World. Just look at the rightful global condemnation of a Wyoming man (don’t know how he votes, but I can take a guess) who purposefully hit a wolf with his snowmobile and then paraded the dying animal around a local bar for hours before finally taking it out back and shooting it. Or the local outrage over a property owner killing a pet with a bow and arrow.

Noem, like current U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, is another in a long line of gun-fetishizing Republicans who use assault rifles as props and think our kids are safer with a steady supply of weaponry. That cavalier attitude toward guns and embrace of violence as a solution for intractable problems can have devastating effects on families, as we’ve seen here locally in recent days and months.

Last year at a National Rifle Association (NRA) leadership forum, Noem informed audience members her toddler grandchild is already locked and loaded. Noem told NRA members about her granddaughter Addie’s growing arsenal: “Now Addie, who you know – soon will need them, I wanna reassure you, she already has a shotgun and she already has a rifle and she’s got a little pony named Sparkles too. So the girl is set up.”

Sparkles better not act up, though. God forbid the pony ever throws Addie.

There’s a growing wave of Noem defenders pointing out the realities of ranch life and the absolute prohibition against dogs chasing or killing livestock and wildlife. I get that, to some degree, but only if a dog truly is untrainable and a repeat offender, not if you just don’t want to put in the time or expense of properly training either a working dog or a family pet.

And the increasing red-state, rural-America hysteria over wolves needs to end as well, including mainstream media obsession bordering on irresponsibility in counting the small number of cows that are killed (and compensated for) and relentlessly tracking reintroduced wolves statewide. I’ve been chased by reintroduced moose twice in the last year but not yet by a pack of wolves.

The kill-em-all cowboy days in the American West are way in our rearview in 2024, and industrial cattle operations are an environmental disaster we should all be working to mitigate

There’s more than enough animal cruelty baked into our carbon economy these days as we blissfully overconsume away the planet’s biological diversity. We clearly no longer need to lionize those who brandish cruelty as a political weapon against both animals and people.

Editor’s note: The O. Zone is a recurring opinion column by RealVail.com publisher David O. Williams. 

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

5 Responses to O. Zone: Noem on the range cruelty doesn’t fly here in Colorado

  1. Jason Reply

    May 3, 2024 at 1:57 pm

    Lmao!!! We need more of the wild west. This is absolutely ridiculous. Born and raised on a farm. Ive killed my dogs, sheep,cattle, and pigs. There is certain times its necessary. It isnt like we just wake up and say im going to kill an animal. It is very thought through. To carry on about this is petty as hell!!

  2. LeRoy Madsen Reply

    May 3, 2024 at 7:41 pm

    For sometime Gov. Norm has been loosing the confidence of South Dakotans. Moving the govenors hunt from Pierre S.D. close to here ranch. Then trying to pay someone off (state employee) $200,000 so she could get her daughter hired. Multiple plane trips with the S.D. State plane ( not satisfactory explaind)for helping former President Trump to run again 2024. Now Gov Neom has offended Native Tribes with accusations of cartel on reservations. Lastly killing a young dog that didn’t need to be shot, ould have been handled better. In her book about meeting dignitaries from other countries that weren’t so…Lies! This tells alot about herself as a person as well public officials.

  3. Lover of America Reply

    May 3, 2024 at 8:21 pm

    Disagree. Completely.

  4. Brian Thompson Reply

    May 3, 2024 at 9:40 pm

    Forgot to mention how SD had one of the highest Covid 19 mortality rates among the 50 states. She is very proud of her ability to “keep the state open” during the pandemic. And very proud of the Sturgis Super Spreader Bike Rally! In spite of it all, if she WAS going fo the highest mortality rate, she failed at that too!

  5. Peta Pecker Reply

    May 14, 2024 at 4:35 am

    May he who does not eat meat cast the first stone.

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