War hero dog mistakenly put to sleep

by Mark James on December 1, 2010

A stray Afghani dog that was hailed a hero after fending off a suicide bomber, and was adopted by a soldier and his family back home in America, has been mistakenly euthanized by local authorities.

Target, who was pregnant at the time, confronted a terrorist who was trying to gain access to a military barracks in the eastern province of Pakita. The bomber detonated his explosives at the gate to the facility and failed to kill anyone. Target was shipped back to the States, along with her puppies, by a dog charity and was given a hero’s welcome, even appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show, before being rehoused with Sergeant Terry Young and his family.

Despite undergoing dog training to get her used to her new surroundings and to socialise with the family’s other dogs, Target escaped from her back yard in San Tan Valley, Arizona, and was captured by animal control. Not having a tag or a dog collar, her photo was published on the animal welfare shelter’s website.

Sergeant Young saw the photograph, and paid the release fee. However, when he went to pick her up, it transpired that the person responsible for euthanizing animals at the shelter had mistakenly picked Target from the pen and put her to sleep. Understandably emotional, Sergeant Young said:

“My 4-year-old keeps saying: ‘Daddy, bring Target home.’”

The county’s animal control director, Ruth Stalter, said:

“I am heartsick over this. I had to personally deliver the news to the dog’s owner, and he and his family are distraught.”

The incident has provoked an outpouring of grief in the community. A candlelit vigil was planned, and Sergeant Young plans to spread Target’s ashes in the park where he would take her to play.

Although the employee responsible has been fired, Sergeant Young is said by the New York Times to be investigating the possibility of a law suit.

Filed under: News
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"War hero dog mistakenly put to sleep" was written by Mark James
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