November 15th, 2010
06:44 PM ET

Afghanistan dog hero accidentally euthanized

A dog rescued from Afghanistan after she alerted soldiers to a suicide bomber was accidentally euthanized at an Arizona shelter on Monday.

A Pinal County Animal Care and Control employee has been placed on administrative leave for failing to follow procedures and euthanizing the wrong dog.

The dog, Target,  was recently brought over from Afghanistan by a soldier who had returned from his tour of duty.  Target was featured by CNN for heroism after saving dozens of soldiers from a suicide bomber on February 11.

"She got her name because the Afghans we lived with were constantly trying to off her.  She's been shot in the leg. ... The Afghans actually ran over her," Sgt. Christopher Duke said, who helped care for Target in Afghanistan and has adopted her packmate Rufus.  "There's no killing this dog for sure.  She's pretty much been through it all, " he said upon their reunion in July in Georgia.

Target's new owner, Army Sgt. Terry Young whose life was saved by the stray, helped bring the 2-ish-year-old from Afghanistan to her new home in Arizona.  She disappeared from Young's home on Friday.  Facebook postings requested help in finding her.

Target saved U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan

Animal Care and Control received a call about a stray female shepherd-mix dog in the San Tan Valley area on Friday.  An animal control officer picked up the dog and brought her to the shelter where the dog stayed over the weekend.  The dog was not microchipped or licensed with the county,  shelter officials said.

On Monday morning, the employee mistakenly took the dog out of its pen and euthanized it.  The dog was not scheduled for euthanasia.

“I am heartsick over this.  I had to personally deliver the news to the dog’s owner, and he and his family are understandably distraught,” said Animal Care and Control Director Ruth Stalter.  “We work hard get to strays reunited with their owners.  When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow.  Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures.”

In an e-mail, Young told  CNN affiliate KPHO, "I'm an absolute wreck today, and it's everything in my power to hold it together for me and my family. My 4-year-old son just can't understand what is going on with Target and keeps asking me to get the poison out of her and bring her home. They don't want her to go be with God yet."

“An investigation is under way, and we will cooperate fully.  We will also thoroughly review procedures to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” Stalter said.  “This is unacceptable, and no family should be deprived of their companion because procedures were not followed.”

Target was pregnant when she helped thwart the suicide bomber by attacking him.  She had her litter of puppies in Afghanistan.  Target's puppies have since been brought to the United States.

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Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (990 Responses)
  1. heavy duty barrier

    Its such as you learn my mind! You appear to understand so much approximately this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I believe that you can do with some p.c. to power the message house a little bit, however other than that, this is fantastic blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

    April 7, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. B. A.

    And you, zapata, are all the wrong with humans. You make me sick.

    November 15, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CraxyD

    What the fark does that have to do with anything? Fire the dipshiat!

    November 15, 2010 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Charon

    or the TSA. Fully qualified idiot.

    November 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sharon

    Really??? You're an idiot. Get some help.

    November 15, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. denise is an idiot

    Denise, did you even read the story?

    November 16, 2010 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
  7. Denise is an idiot

    Denise read the story! The family didn't want the dog euthanized. How dumb can you be. Do you comment on stories based on headlines all the time?!

    November 16, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Denise is an idiot

    Ha, apparently someone thought the exact same thing and even wrote the same name. :)

    November 16, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  9. Zach

    seriously Denise, did you read it?

    November 16, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  10. Belles

    ok reading is a good thing, the family didn't do this, an employee that didn't do their job correctly is at fault. Dog got loose and the family was looking for it. Before you judge the family read the story...seems like you're the loser *throws a book at you*

    November 16, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. Bill Mc

    Thanks Denise. Sorry someone else left a reply that would certainly be classified as bullying. I know you are a compassionate person. I will pray that you meet people today who will reward you for your kindness.

    November 16, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Fail


    November 16, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. Denise IS a MORON!

    Wow, there is no depth to your stupidity. read then re-read. then... push real hard against your knees. when you hear a loud pop you will finally have pulled your head out.

    November 16, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. Denise ain't so bad

    I think she was commenting on the fact that the owners didn't tag or license her, which is irresponsible.

    November 16, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  15. suesark

    I don't think you even read the story, did you? Just jumped to conclusions as is so often the case these days. That poor heart-broken owner!

    November 16, 2010 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
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