Animal Shelter Killed War Hero Dog

Thursday, November 18, 2010
Target (photo: AP)
Target, a female shepherd-mix dog, survived suicide bombings in Afghanistan, but couldn’t avoid death at an animal shelter in Arizona, where she was mistakenly euthanized.
Only last month Target was honored at the eighth annual Hero Awards by the Friends of Animal Care and Control of Maricopa County, for her actions at an American base in Afghanistan. There, Target helped identify an insurgent who had made his way onto the base with the intention of blowing himself up inside one of the buildings. But the dog, along with two others, barked at the bomber, prompting him to detonate his explosives just outside the facility.
Five soldiers were injured by the blast, but they and others credited Target and the other dogs with saving their lives.
Sergeant Terry Young said he would have been fatally injured by shrapnel had it not been for Target, who was not an official military-trained canine, but a stray living on the base.
When Young returned home, he brought Target with him.
The dog got out of Young’s backyard late last week and was picked up by animal control. When he went to retrieve Target on Monday, he was told she had been put to sleep, even though she was not scheduled for euthanizing.
The employee responsible has been put on administrative leave, pending a formal investigation. The shelter’s director said procedures were not followed correctly, and she personally apologized to Young and his family for the mistake.
“I am heartsick over this,” said Animal Care and Control Director Ruth Stalter. “This is unacceptable and no family should be deprived of their companion because procedures were not followed.”
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Soldier's Dog Put Down by Mistake (by Richard Ruelas, Arizona Republic)


alana 13 years ago
cat in NJ-perhaps he was looking all over his neighborhoods? maybe he was out of town? maybe the shelter was closed on sunday? no babysitter to watch kids, ect? i'd had a dog run away a few years ago, called shelters, and recieved no help, and my dog was probably there for the three days he was missing. i'm sure it was the least of his intentions to "leave" his dog in a shelter all weekend.
Janice Cahajla 13 years ago
I fully agree with the last message. I can't believe the dog got out on Friday and they went to claim the dog on Monday. I know things happen but I would know my dog got out in just minutes. This is truly neglegent on the owners part. My heart goes out to the dog for ending up this way.
Cat in NJ 13 years ago
What a way for this heroic dog to end up. The shelter employee who singlehandedly put down 30 dogs that day, which was against policy, should be fired immediately. Also, with due respect to Target's owner, how could someone just leave a beloved pet in the shelter over a weekend? I couldn't imagine it.

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