A dog who saved dozens of soldiers in Afghanistan and even found her way onto the Oprah Show was mistakenly killed this weekend at an Arizona pound.
Target and two other dogs befriended by an Army unit at a base on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border alerted soldiers to a suicide bomber who had walked onto the compound. The dogs blocked the bomber from a building holding dozens of soldiers before he detonated the explosive. The blast injured five soldiers but only killed the bomber and one dog.
Target survived and was reunited with Army Sgt. Terry Young, an National Guardsman, in Arizona, where Target lived with Young’s family. Young described how Target saved his and other soldiers’ lives on The Oprah Show in October.
On Friday, Target escaped from Young’s backyard when a gate was accidentally left open. The dog was picked up by a neighbor and taken to Pinal County’s Animal Control’s Casa Grande shelter. When Young went to pick Target up on Monday, the shelter director told him Target had been wrongly euthanized.
“When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow,” Ruth Stalter, the county animal control director, said in a statement to the Arizona Republic. “Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures.”
The employee who euthanized Target has been put on paid administrative leave until an investigation into the matter is completed, a county spokesman told the Arizona Republic.
“I just can’t believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog,” Young told the Arizona paper.