On This Business of Shooting Your Dog

 

The horrified reaction to Kristi Noem’s anecdote about shooting one of her hunting dogs is interesting – though I offer no opinion on the shooting itself. But because it illustrates so perfectly how being sheltered from the world of agriculture affects one’s thinking about animals. Farmers and ranchers, in my experience, have a far more utilitarian view of animals than is typical of people outside of that world. Effete Westerners have developed such a Disney-esque sentimentality about animals that some of them are consciously choosing to have pets instead of children. When they talk of their “fur babies,” they’re not being facetious.

I was at a July 4th gathering once, at a friend’s small ranch. My friend and his family (wife + 2 boys) raised a small herd of beef cattle. During the party, a large stray dog got into the pasture where his cattle were grazing and the dog was getting a great deal of pleasure out of chasing the cattle around the pasture. But it was extremely hot, and the cattle were dangerously stressed. The dog’s behavior was harming the cattle and the economic prospects of my friend and his family. When the dog continued to come back and chase the cattle, even after being run off a couple of times, my friend loaded up his shotgun during the middle of the party, walked out into the pasture in full view of all of his guests, and shot the dog. That wasn’t his first choice, but he certainly didn’t hesitate.

I had another friend who was a commercial pig farmer and he would routinely and proactively kill young piglets who were not thriving alongside their siblings. He simply couldn’t accommodate the needs of the frail ones.

I’m not suggesting an equivalence between my friends’ actions and Noem’s decision to shoot her own dog. I’m simply observing that people who inhabit the agricultural world, as Noem has, can operate with an unsentimental perspective regarding animals – that animals exist to serve the purposes of their human owners. Such a utilitarian view can shock the sensibilities of people whose primary contact with animals has been cuddling their family pets and watching Disney nature movies.

Perhaps one of the things which has been most interesting to watch has been the general uniformity of the indignant response from both the left (where you would expect it) and the right (where it has come as slightly more of a surprise, to me at least).

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  1. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    When people find out I grew up on a hog farm, they ask, “Oh!  You raised pigs?”

    I answer, “No, we produced pork.”

    • #1
  2. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    Why couldn’t she just have had the dog humanely euthanized? I understand that when you “inhabit the agricultural world” this isn’t always convenient. I don’t know much of her background, but she is a state governor. I can’t imagine that she didn’t have access to veterinary services. Shooting a dog would be a last resort for an anyone with normal human feelings. It would be a horrible thing to have to do and any normal person would avoid doing it if they could. And it didn’t sound like an emergency, but rather an act motivated by impatience.

    • #2
  3. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    But at least she didn’t eat a dog like Obama.

    • #3
  4. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    My biggest problem with Noem is the lack of political awareness in making this story public. My mom once had to drown a litter of kittens. She didn’t discuss this at the PTA meeting, even back in the day. Noem not realizing how this story would be used against her shows she wasn’t ready for the national stage.

    • #4
  5. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Why couldn’t she just have had the dog humanely euthanized? I understand that when you “inhabit the agricultural world” this isn’t always convenient. I don’t know much of her background, but she is a state governor. I can’t imagine that she didn’t have access to veterinary services. Shooting a dog would be a last resort for an anyone with normal human feelings. It would be a horrible thing to have to do and any normal person would avoid doing it if they could. And it didn’t sound like an emergency, but rather an act motivated by impatience.

    In what way is shooting the dog not being “humanely euthanized”? Seems to me (and everybody since the invention of the gun) to be direct, quick, to the point, effective, and final. Bang. Done. What’s the problem?

    • #5
  6. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    When people find out I grew up on a hog farm, they ask, “Oh! You raised pigs?”

    I answer, “No, we produced pork.”

    About the pig my brother raised for 4-H, he would say, “We called it ‘Snoopy’. We also called it ‘Delicious’.”

    • #6
  7. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    I suspect that progressive types would feel less concern about putting down conservatives with whom they disagree than the dog. 

    • #7
  8. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    The Scarecrow (View Comment):

    W Bob (View Comment):

    Why couldn’t she just have had the dog humanely euthanized? I understand that when you “inhabit the agricultural world” this isn’t always convenient. I don’t know much of her background, but she is a state governor. I can’t imagine that she didn’t have access to veterinary services. Shooting a dog would be a last resort for an anyone with normal human feelings. It would be a horrible thing to have to do and any normal person would avoid doing it if they could. And it didn’t sound like an emergency, but rather an act motivated by impatience.

    In what way is shooting the dog not being “humanely euthanized”? Seems to me (and everybody since the invention of the gun) to be direct, quick, to the point, effective, and final. Bang. Done. What’s the problem?

    A well trained firing squad would be preferable to lethal injection for human executions. From everything Ive heard about both methods. But I doubt her shooting the dog was comparable to that. Euthanasia is preferable every time when properly done by a vet.

    And why put yourself through it anyway, when you can just drop the dog off at the municipal shelter or take it to the vet to euthanize it? Just take the easy way out, especially when it’s the more humane way. But I guess that would mean she wouldn’t be  a tough ass cowboy girl or something. Which is the reason she mentioned the episode in her book by her own admission. It won’t stop me from voting for her but now I probably won’t have the chance. 

    • #8
  9. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    One would guess that most of those on the Left (and probably many on the right) are pro-abortion. This irony is probably lost on most of them.

    • #9
  10. Terence Smith Coolidge
    Terence Smith
    @TerrySmith

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    My biggest problem with Noem is the lack of political awareness in making this story public. My mom once had to drown a litter of kittens. She didn’t discuss this at the PTA meeting, even back in the day. Noem not realizing how this story would be used against her shows she wasn’t ready for the national stage.

    No doubt mainly because I am looking for it (confirmation bias), I notice conservative/republican women try to make a point of demonstrating they  that they are hard and tough enough to make the hard calls. Its not a criticism just an observation. In fact I think she stated this explicitly as to why she included it in the book.  It shows at least an awareness of where they think they might be vulnerable in  voters perceptions. 

    Whatever my reservations about Noem, this is not one of them.  However it is true  the media will savage her (like Romney) if she happens to be the VP pick.   

    • #10
  11. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    My biggest problem with Noem is the lack of political awareness in making this story public. My mom once had to drown a litter of kittens. She didn’t discuss this at the PTA meeting, even back in the day. Noem not realizing how this story would be used against her shows she wasn’t ready for the national stage.

    Her publisher, Center Street–part of Hachette–represents plenty of personalities like Vivek and Ben Carson.  Something about this makes me wonder, however, where her editor was.  You can make a point about being tough without being tone deaf.

    She has been putting quite a few euthanasia-by-shotgun stories on social media lately.  Why she feels the need for that persona is beyond me.  She is no Margaret Thatcher.  Maybe it is all the cosmetic work and botox getting to her brain.

    And DJT should distance himself from his publicity blurb.  He obviously did not read an advance copy.  He doesn’t need the Romney dog-in-a-crate smear (on steroids) by association.

    And the humanely euthanized portion of the story falls apart when she shot a goat that she didn’t like (seems to be the only reason), but missed and had to go back to her truck for another shell.  Not a marksman, either.

    • #11
  12. MWD B612 "Dawg" Inactive
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Apparently I am, to quote the OP, an ” Effete Westerner.” I have also handled Military Working Dogs. I can tell you that literally trusting my life and the lives of my Flight to a dog changes one’s outlook on dogs. They are not merely tools.

    I can state with metaphysical certitude that, even though we had ready access to firearms, including automatic weapons, that we would never put down a dog with a firearm unless we were in a combat zone, the dog was mortally wounded, and we couldn’t get it to a vet. You know, an extreme circumstance.

    Having a dog on a ranch that one cannot train and, to use Gov. Noem’s words, one “hates” is in no way an extreme circumstance. (As an aside, I wonder if her hatred of the dog in question had something to do with the supposed non-trainability of said dog.) She had access to a veterinarian. Opting to shoot it in the mouth is the act of a deranged person. 

    • #12
  13. Steve Fast Member
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    I grew up on a ranch, and animals have to earn their keep.

    Noem says that her dog bit people and killed chickens. She tried to train it but was unsuccessful. I can say from experience it is extremely difficult to train dogs not to kill chickens after they have done it once. That kind of dog is both dangerous to family members and destructive to the farm economy. You have no choice.

    But you do have a choice of whether you write about it in your book, as EustaceCScrubb has already mentioned.

    • #13
  14. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Steve Fast (View Comment):
    Noem says that her dog bit people and killed chickens.

    Joe Biden’s dogs have also bitten people and they were just quietly moved out of the headlines.

    • #14
  15. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Terence Smith (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    My biggest problem with Noem is the lack of political awareness in making this story public. My mom once had to drown a litter of kittens. She didn’t discuss this at the PTA meeting, even back in the day. Noem not realizing how this story would be used against her shows she wasn’t ready for the national stage.

    No doubt mainly because I am looking for it (confirmation bias), I notice conservative/republican women try to make a point of demonstrating they that they are hard and tough enough to make the hard calls. Its not a criticism just an observation. In fact I think she stated this explicitly as to why she included it in the book. It shows at least an awareness of where they think they might be vulnerable in voters perceptions.

    Whatever my reservations about Noem, this is not one of them. However it is true the media will savage her (like Romney) if she happens to be the VP pick.

    Trying to look tough, for a man or woman, never works.

    • #15
  16. Eustace C. Scrubb Member
    Eustace C. Scrubb
    @EustaceCScrubb

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Eustace C. Scrubb (View Comment):

    My biggest problem with Noem is the lack of political awareness in making this story public. My mom once had to drown a litter of kittens. She didn’t discuss this at the PTA meeting, even back in the day. Noem not realizing how this story would be used against her shows she wasn’t ready for the national stage.

    Her publisher, Center Street–part of Hachette–represents plenty of personalities like Vivek and Ben Carson. Something about this makes me wonder, however, where her editor was. You can make a point about being tough without being tone deaf.

    She has been putting quite a few euthanasia-by-shotgun stories on social media lately. Why she feels the need for that persona is beyond me. She is no Margaret Thatcher. Maybe it is all the cosmetic work and botox getting to her brain.

    And DJT should distance himself from his publicity blurb. He obviously did not read an advance copy. He doesn’t need the Romney dog-in-a-crate smear (on steroids) by association.

    And the humanely euthanized portion of the story falls apart when she shot a goat that she didn’t like (seems to be the only reason), but missed and had to go back to her truck for another shell. Not a marksman, either.

    Trump didn’t read the book before he blurbed it? How dare you suggest such a thing? (I forget, is that slander or libel?)

    • #16
  17. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    I’m not suggesting an equivalence between my friends’ actions and Noem’s decision to shoot her own dog.

    No, you’re not suggesting the equivalence. You’re ignoring it.

    She killed the dog because it was destructive, killing valuable livestock. Not because it spoiled her hunting trip, or because she didn’t like it. It was a destructive animal, and it was her responsibility.

    Edit: The quote is from the OP, not 9-er.

    • #17
  18. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Barfly (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    I’m not suggesting an equivalence between my friends’ actions and Noem’s decision to shoot her own dog.

    No, you’re not suggesting the equivalence. You’re ignoring it.

    She killed the dog because it was destructive, killing valuable livestock. Not because it spoiled her hunting trip, or because she didn’t like it. It was a destructive animal, and it was her responsibility.

    I don’t know where you pulled that quote from but I did not say what follows my name, for the record.

    • #18
  19. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I am not going to criticize Gov. Noem. Although I am a suburbanite, I live at the edge of ranch country. I also learn a lot by watching and reading farming and ranching materials. I have learned that farmers and ranchers have a much clearer understanding of what is involved in animal life and death than I do. I am on shaky ground if I criticize their decisions.

    A while back I heard a guest host on a radio show who did live in the country explain that when his dog needed to be “put down” he would do so by shooting it himself. He thought it not only cowardly but unloving to outsource the killing to a veterinarian. “Humane euthanization” and “put down” are socially polite euphemisms for “killing.”

    A friend of mine is a cattle rancher. He on occasion has to kill horses and cattle in the field (usually because they suffer a severe injury). Yes, there are some practical differences with cattle and horses because they are large and heavy, and thus not easy to move. If he kills them with a bullet he can let God’s designated clean-up crew (carrion birds, bugs, and other scavengers) take care of the physical remains and continue the cycle of life and death. Whereas if he were to “humanely euthanize” the animal by injecting it with a fatal chemical, he would have to dig a pit to put the carcass more than six feet below the surface so that the carrion birds and bugs don’t ingest the fatal chemicals and spread those chemicals to the rest of the environment.

    A dairy farmer from whom I have gotten information recently shot and killed a cow that had become severely injured so that his family could use the meat from the uninjured parts of the cow. Had he “euthanized” the cow with chemicals, he could not have used any of the meat from the ¾ of the cow that was otherwise undamaged by the injury.

    My daughter-in-law grew up on ranches in Colorado and New Mexico (her father was employed as a ranch manager). Although she now adores dogs and she and our son have four large dogs in their house, when she was growing up the working dogs (and “hunting dogs” are working dogs) were never allowed into the house. Hunting dogs are not household pets.

    • #19
  20. Steve Fast Member
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Steve Fast (View Comment):
    Noem says that her dog bit people and killed chickens.

    Joe Biden’s dogs have also bitten people and they were just quietly moved out of the headlines.

    There’s a good chance that the problem was the owner, not the dogs, so it was appropriate to move them to a better environment.

    • #20
  21. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I am also a lawyer. Provisions of the law are premised on the theory that once a dog kills or otherwise tastes blood (such as by biting a person), the dog is more likely to do so again. In many states, once a dog has bitten or killed once, the law presumes that the dog’s owner is “on notice” that the owner has a “vicious dog” and the owner is subject to “strict liability” for any future bites or killings. A presumption is that once a dog has bitten or killed, the dog will be killed so that the dog doesn’t kill or bite again. 

    • #21
  22. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    This recent issue of putting down an animal as being a shameful thing is odd to me.  It was normal when I was young.  So normal that I could not remember the ones I have done in my life.  In my life I have been to dog fights, cock fights, bull fights.  It seems to me the country has lost its mind in the decade or so.

    • #22
  23. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf 🚫 Banned
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Steve Fast (View Comment):
    Noem says that her dog bit people and killed chickens.

    Joe Biden’s dogs have also bitten people and they were just quietly moved out of the headlines.

    • #23
  24. Steve Fast Member
    Steve Fast
    @SteveFast

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Steve Fast (View Comment):
    Noem says that her dog bit people and killed chickens.

    Joe Biden’s dogs have also bitten people and they were just quietly moved out of the headlines.

     

    Biden’s dogs were in a high-stress environment where their owner screams and curses at people (and probably at the dogs as well). Dogs respond to their owner. A different owner and some training could change their behavior.

    • #24
  25. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Who the heck cares? 

    Her property.

    Frankly I think less of the bleeding hearts in this thread who ask about taking the dog to the vet.

    Grow a pair.

    Literally, you disgust me.

     

    • #25
  26. Globalitarian Misanthropist Coolidge
    Globalitarian Misanthropist
    @Flicker

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    I’m not suggesting an equivalence between my friends’ actions and Noem’s decision to shoot her own dog.

    No, you’re not suggesting the equivalence. You’re ignoring it.

    She killed the dog because it was destructive, killing valuable livestock. Not because it spoiled her hunting trip, or because she didn’t like it. It was a destructive animal, and it was her responsibility.

    I don’t know where you pulled that quote from but I did not say what follows my name, for the record.

    Keith stated it in the OP.

    • #26
  27. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):
    I’m not suggesting an equivalence between my friends’ actions and Noem’s decision to shoot her own dog.

    No, you’re not suggesting the equivalence. You’re ignoring it.

    She killed the dog because it was destructive, killing valuable livestock. Not because it spoiled her hunting trip, or because she didn’t like it. It was a destructive animal, and it was her responsibility.

    I don’t know where you pulled that quote from but I did not say what follows my name, for the record.

    You’re right. It’s Keith’s, from the OP. I probably had it selected to quote, but hit … what, Reply or something?

    • #27
  28. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Who the heck cares?

    Her property.

    Frankly I think less of the bleeding hearts in this thread who ask about taking the dog to the vet.

    Grow a pair.

    Literally, you disgust me.

     

    Friendly!!

    • #28
  29. MWD B612 "Dawg" Inactive
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Who the heck cares?

    Her property.

    Frankly I think less of the bleeding hearts in this thread who ask about taking the dog to the vet.

    Grow a pair.

    Literally, you disgust me.

     

    Bryan, I explained my perspective in my comment above. But I’ll add this, though I was saving it for a later post in my “MWD Handler in the ’80s Series.”

    We had a patrol/narcotics detection dog at my base whose handler was reassigned to Korea. At that time, a dog was assigned to a base for life (don’t know if it’s still that way), not assigned to a handler for life. A SSGT was then assigned to the dog. Turned out that she didn’t have the physical strength to correct the dog, and the dog rapidly became uncontrollable, and thus very dangerous, even attacking the handler multiple times. The dog was also the largest in the kennels and routinely bit through the wrap, though he never broke the skin.

    So the USAF took the dog behind the kennels and shot it.

    No, I kid, though that’s what some in the comments would have done. The Air Force euthanized it.

    No, I’m still kidding. The Kennelmaster came to me and asked if I wanted to take over the dog. I was surprised, because I was a one-striper. Usually no one below a Senior Airman gets a drug dog. He also told me if I didn’t say yes the dog would be destroyed. So I said “Sure, Sarge!” (The Kennelmaster was a Master Sergeant.)

    I was pulled off active patrol and we spent the next 6 weeks working with the dog. I managed to turn the dog around, with the help of the training NCO, and the dog spent many more years serving this country.

    Do I still disgust you, to use your words? Still think less of me? Am I a bleeding heart? Show your work.

    • #29
  30. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    MWD B612 "Dawg" (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Who the heck cares?

    Her property.

    Frankly I think less of the bleeding hearts in this thread who ask about taking the dog to the vet.

    Grow a pair.

    Literally, you disgust me.

     

    Bryan, I explained my perspective in my comment above. But I’ll add this, though I was saving it for a later post in my “MWD Handler in the ’80s Series.”

    We had a patrol/narcotics detection dog at my base whose handler was reassigned to Korea. At that time, a dog was assigned to a base for life (don’t know if it’s still that way), not assigned to a handler for life. A SSGT was then assigned to the dog. Turned out that she didn’t have the physical strength to correct the dog, and the dog rapidly became uncontrollable, and thus very dangerous, even attacking the handler multiple times. The dog was also the largest in the kennels and routinely bit through the wrap, though he never broke the skin.

    So the USAF took the dog behind the kennels and shot it.

    No, I kid, though that’s what some in the comments would have done. The Air Force euthanized it.

    No, I’m still kidding. The Kennelmaster came to me and asked if I wanted to take over the dog. I was surprised, because I was a one-striper. Usually no one below a Senior Airman gets a drug dog. He also told me if I didn’t say yes the dog would be destroyed. So I said “Sure, Sarge!” (The Kennelmaster was a Master Sergeant.)

    I was pulled off active patrol and we spent the next 6 weeks working with the dog. I managed to turn the dog around, with the help of the training NCO, and the dog spent many more years serving this country.

    Do I still disgust you, to use your words? Still think less of me? Am I a bleeding heart? Show your work.

    None of that matters on bit.

    You sit in judgment of what someone else choose to do. 

    You saved a dog. Good job.

     

     

    • #30
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