19 November 2010

'Target' the war hero dog from Afghanistan euthanized in error

A heroic stray dog that befriended soldiers in Afghanistan and saved their lives by chasing off a suicide bomber, was euthanized by mistake last Monday at an Arizona shelter.

Target, a shepherd-mix, was adopted and brought to Arizona by Sergeant Terry Young, one of the soldiers she helped save.

The pooch was picked up last Friday after she wandered off from Young’s home southeast of Phoenix and taken to a local shelter after a neighbor found the lost dog.

A terrible series of errors led to Target being euthanized the following Monday.

Young found out that Target was at a local shelter, but did not go to pick her up as he thought the shelter was closed for the weekend.

On Monday a worker at the shelter confused Target for another dog and mistakenly had her euthanized.

When Young showed up at the shelter to pick her up he was told by the director of the shelter that there had been a mistake and Target had been put down.

"I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog," Young said.

Young and his family, which includes three small children, are reportedly devastated.

Last February, Target and two other dogs, Sasha and Rufus, thwarted a suicide bomber in Afghanistan by barking and attacking the bomber, alerting and saving up to 50 soldiers in a nearby barrack. The bomber self-detonated, killing Sasha and severely injuring Target and Rufus. Five soldiers were injured, but none were killed thanks to being alerted by the dogs barking.

Target and Rufus were nursed back to health and adopted by soldiers at the base, who treated them like royalty. The dogs gained national attention after appearing on “Oprah.”

The shelter has promised to investigate the incident and has placed the employee who made the heart breaking mistake on administrative leave.

Unfortunately, Target was not microchipped, tagged or licensed with the county.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw | email
Robin lives in New York City where she loves to check out all the vegan eateries. When she's not writing for TDIV, Robin enjoys taking dance lessons, reading, practicing yoga, hanging out with her cat Maggie, baking vegan treats, and volunteering at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Feel free to add Robin as a friend on Facebook.

Photo credit: Screen capture MSNBC.com