Hero Afghan dog accidentally euthanized
November 16th, 2010
02:21 PM ET

Hero Afghan dog 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.

Watch file video of "Target" reuniting with a U.S. soldier he saved in Afghanistan

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Filed under: Troops
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. USMC Forever

    This is the deal, 1. the OWNER of the hero dog did not have the dog contained in its territory. 2. The OWNER did not have the hero dog registered or tagged. 3. The OWNER did not have the hero dog chipped. The OWNER didn't even have the hero dog checked for diseases from Afganistan or it would have been tagged. I believe this is a violation of the LAW.

    November 23, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |

    I feel some much sadness for Target and her family she put her life on the line to save AMERICANS. This kind person brought her all the way home because he loved her and then some stupid American who could care less about animals KILLED her for no reason. I am the proud owner of dogs, cats and a horse and would do anything to protect them and I'm sure they would do the same for me. I think that person that killed Target should be fired and never allowed to be any where near an animal again. Just remeber DOG spelled backwards means GOD. Shame on you. You are nothing but a murderer.

    November 18, 2010 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Dindy.....


    November 18, 2010 at 7:33 am | Report abuse |
  4. Joe

    Crowded shelters comes from one thing, over-breeding, not from lack of adopters. Go to the source of the problem. You want to have a pet you should have two choices... Get your pet fixed or pay a large fee per animal for licence to breed, require the chip in all breeders male and female, and levy fines for repeat offenders who show up at shelters. There are far to many pet owners with no intention to breed that simply ignor this most important step in responsible pet ownership. Pets get out they have babies these become ferrel or the owner unsuccesfully trys to give them away in front of walmart and eventually lets them go or brings them to a shelter.
    My heart goes out to this hero for the loss of his four legged hero. I lost my dog Ginger to cancer almost a year ago and still think about her daily.

    November 17, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Shelters have a lack of popularity. They must go all in on the problem. Most people don't even know where the shelters are in they're city, but they know where the pets stores are. Solve this and with basic advertisement, flyers and stuff, the problem with adoption would change, and educating and regulation is a sad excuse also. The problem is crappy practices by people in charge......

      November 17, 2010 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
      • Joe

        Oh "education is a sad excuse." The vet directly suggests to you to fix the puppy, and thats all they can do, SUGGEST. Then these irresponsible pet owners deny the low cost procidure over $100. (40 to 50 at most shelters) lack of education and irresponsibility neccesitates regulation. Your loosing sight of the story anyway. This is about a fallen hero. Might not have been in the line of duty, but a tradgety none the less. Do you even have a pet, child .... any thing you love. And flyers, really? I cant find the pizza coupons two week after they come. How often do you want to litter your town or neighborhood with a thousand useless peices of paper. I'm supprized your even on a computer right now!

        November 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    Oh and we didn't create the problem. Most people don't have pets, or breed or have a puppy mill in the back yard. The problem is the shelters and the vets and money.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    The shelters are not trying to help or solve the problem. They're just trying to cleanize the pets population. Quit making excuses for yourselves murders!

    November 17, 2010 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dave

    Oh you are the "bad guys" stupid. Because there is no money in shelters and adoption the vets. came up with the great idea of mass murder. Get your head out of your ass and stop making excuses. Do the right thing or get another job.

    November 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Gabrielle

    The reporting of this story on CNN over the last two days (especially this morning) has been incredibly irresponsible and one-sided. Kyra says that the shelter should "own up" to this mistake. How about telling this shelter's community (and the communities surrounding every crowded animal shelter in the country) that they should "own up" to the problems of overpopulation and homelessness that they have created? The blame for the tragic amount of euthanasia that has to be done in this country (simply because there are SO many more animals than there are adoptive homes) is always placed on shelters. The problem would not exist in the first place if pet owners would (1) adopt any one of the millions of healthy, wonderful homeless animals in shelters/rescue groups instead of buying from breeders or pet stores, (2) spay and neuter all of their animals early in life to prevent unintended litters (which invariably end up being dumped at shelters, contributing to overpopulation and euthanasia), and (3) properly identify their animals (collar/tag, microchip) and be more careful about keeping them in their homes/yards– and, as the previous comment says, people need to go to their local shelters early and often when their animals go missing.

    Of course it is tragic that Target was euthanized; It is tragic that ANY sweet, healthy, wonderful animals have to be euthanized on a daily basis (3-4 million per year) simply because most people are too irresponsible and uninformed to prevent the problem. If you think that shelter overpopulation and euthanasia are tragic, then do a better job of informing viewers about what they can do to prevent shelters from being crowded in the first place, instead of pointing fingers at the only people who are managing the problem (ie, the shelter).

    November 17, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Dave

    Whatever keep making excuses for the shelters. The truth is the shelters want nothing to do with these dogs the day of the dog catcher is over. The owners make little to no money off shelters or adoptions so if the dog isn't they're idea of a pure bread or cute, the dog is quickly killed. They want to put the blame on people, but we don't make breads popular or breed the dogs by millions its they're job to advertise and popularize adoption and limit breeding on the large scale. Sorry Brooke most of these dogs have less than 3 days before they are murdered. Employee's of vets and shelters need to stop making excuses and start doing whats right......

    November 17, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Brooke

    The dog was taken to the shelter the day she went missing (Friday). The shelter was open both Friday and Saturday. Why weren't her owners scouring the local shelters? Part of the blame here lies with the owners, as there is no excuse for her not being found and claimed on Saturday. You cannot waste time when you lose a pet. You must visit all local shelters (not just call, because the people who answer the phone don't always know if your dog is or isn't there, as they do not physically walk through the kennel). Shelters are known for lack of communication and disorganization – which is what got this dog euthanized. The person who really killed this dog was the person who spoke to the owners on the phone, but failed to inform the kennel that this dog had been claimed and to put a HOLD note on the kennel card. The dog's stray hold time (3 days) was up and the euthanasia technician was just doing his job. Shelter administration is using him as a scapegoat (as they always do with the "bad guys" – the ones who have to unfortunate job of killing perfectly healthy animals due to shelter overcrowding and not enough adopters) to cover up the screwups of other employees and the shelter as a whole. Having volunteered for years in the past at an animal control facility, I know all to well how this works. Give the poor euthanasia technician a break. His sad job is to destroy unclaimed strays after their legal 3 day hold time UNLESS their kennel card is marked otherwise. He would not have that awful job if society didn't create it for him, and it is a sadly necessary job as long as people opt to buy animals as opposed to adopt from shelters AND refuse to spay and neuter their pets.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      Just to point out: the employee being blamed is on administrative leave, which means he is still employed and being paid. He has NOT been fired, and that is because, regardless of what the shelter admin is saying to the gullible public, the employee did not technically do anything wrong and therefore they cannot fire him. If he had really done something wrong, especially in this high profile of a story, he would have been fired immediately. Shelter admin will always blame the euthanasia technicians, because they know the public will immediately focus on who did the actual act of destroying the dog; they know that the public does not understand how a shelter works and that the fault actually lies with other employee(s) who failed to inform the technician that this dog was claimed. This employee did not euthanize "the wrong dog" – he just euthanized one dog out of many that day, that, as far as he knew, had not been claimed and the legal hold period was over. The public seems to think that because she was healthy, she should have been put up for adoption, but the sad truth is that the majority of animals at a shelter that are put down ARE healthy, and shepherd mixes are a dime a dozen in shelters. The reality of an animal shelter is brutal. Big dogs are hard to get adopted. The limited kennel space is reserved for smaller, more "adoptable" dogs. And even then, the "adoptable animals" only have a week or two to find a home.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • USMC Forever

      Brooke, I liked your post so much I have only one question. Will you marry me?

      November 18, 2010 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie Rafferty

      The owner found "Target" on the shelter website 6pm Friday. He thought the shelter was closed on the weekend and Target would be safe at the pound. He was there 1st thing Monday morning, but too late. THE MAJORITY OF SHELTERS ARE SUPPOSED TO KEEP ANIMALS AT LEAST 5 DAYS.

      November 18, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sommer Stellflue

    As a dog owner, I can't imagine how difficult it would be to find out that my dog had been "accidentally" euthanized. My heart goes out to Target's family.

    November 17, 2010 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      I don't think it was a accident, come on. Use your head. If isn't a pure bread it takes longer to adopt. so they kill them. Thats the bottom line. They justify they're actions by blaming us the public.

      November 17, 2010 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Kerry

        "pure bread" What kind of English is that? By your logic and and after reading your previous comments you should been euthanized instead of this brave dog.

        November 17, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Shawn Marie Hardy

    Everything is ALWAYS about money. Those of you who are so worried about what this cost taxpayers should do your homework.

    I think it's so sad that these animals are euthanized, yet our prisons are filled with killers, rapists, and other violent criminals who get to live for free. Sure doesn't seem right to me. That should worry taxpayers more than something like this.

    I see that the employee was put on administrative leave for not following protocol...if it was a human, instead of a dog, I'm sure they wouldn't be paid for their time off. It's a real shame.

    November 17, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. SGT Jansen

    It had to be a Marine that wanted to complain about the dogs bills. As if were not wasting more of our tax money on stupid things that are less needing. I for one am glad to hear that the dog got sent home but am sad to hear it got euthinized by some stupid employee. I bet you the Marine guy would change his mind if the dog had happened to save him from death.

    November 17, 2010 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Brooke

      Sad that an employee was doing his job? I don't think so. I'm sad that the owners did not feel it necessary to have tags or microchip on their dog, and did not feel it was urgent enough to search local shelters for their dog. The dog could have been home safe and sound as early as Friday afternoon. If that was impossible for some reason, they had until 2pm on Saturday to claim the dog. I'm sorry for the owners loss, but they share some blame in this.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Lisa

    God bless you Target, may you rest in peace. Does it really matter what it cost to bring this beautiful life saving creature to America?? She put her life on the line when it mattered the most to save American lives and all you can speak about is the $$$. Shame on you for having such a COLD heart.

    November 16, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcmurdo proud military fiance

      amen to that lisa I agree, why does it always have to be about money , what happened to compassion and love

      November 17, 2010 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        well said MPROUDMF

        November 18, 2010 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |