The third rail of American politics has puppy dog eyes.

South Dakota governor and wannabe-veep Kristi Noem should know that. Remember the time Mitt Romney strapped the family dog, Seamus, to the top of the family car during a 650-mile road trip? Of course you do. That's one thing almost everyone remembers from the 2012 presidential campaign.

Yet there Noem was, devoting an entire section of her memoirs to the day she shot a high-spirited puppy named Cricket to death, then executed the family goat for having a bad attitude.

"I hated that dog," Noem wrote in her upcoming and lengthily titled book: "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward." (Real missed opportunity, not calling it "Noem Going Back," by the way.)

An advance copy, obtained by The Guardian, told the story of Cricket's first and last pheasant hunt, which occurred two decades ago. The 14-month-old wirehair pointer zoomed and bounced around the field, scaring the wildlife and ruining the hunt. On the way home, the puppy escaped Noem's vehicle and attacked a neighbor's chickens.

Cricket was "the picture of pure joy" through it all, Noem wrote, according to The Guardian, but "worthless … as a hunting dog."

Noem seemed to think her shoot-first approach to dog training would make her sound tough, decisive and willing to make hard choices. Once she tossed Cricket's lifeless body into a gravel pit, she dragged an unnamed goat to the site. The goat, she wrote, was a jerk who enjoyed chasing her children, knocking them down and getting dirt all over their clothes. Soon, the goat's body was tumbling after Cricket's.

Now, maybe Noem was writing to an audience of one. Former President Donald Trump, currently in the market for a running-mate, was the first president in 118 years not to have a pet in the White House. Trump uses the word "dog" primarily as an insult.

If Noem was writing for one, she was read by many. Not many liked what they read. Democrat or Republican, Americans love their pets. Americans do not love reading about someone shooting a puppy. Do you know how many people would have been happy to adopt Cricket and let him romp in the yard and snooze on the couch and attend a few basic obedience classes? Noem's probably heard from most of them by now.

As horrified criticism poured in, Noem tweeted out that she also just shot three horses.

As Noem read the room, she tried to explain why shooting a puppy — rather than one of the kinder, more loving, more humane options available — showed the sort of problem-solving she would bring to the national stage.

If anyone out there is looking to offload an annoying puppy or jerk-face goat, there are many rescues out there that will take them off your hands and find good homes for them.

It might not be as easy as taking them out back and shooting them dead. But the easy way isn't always the right way.