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article imageHero dog from Afghanistan mistakenly put down in US

By Lynn Curwin     Nov 20, 2010 in World
Florence - A dog who was considered a hero by American soldiers in Afghanistan was mistakenly euthanized at an Arizona animal shelter.
Target, a female shepherd mix, along with two other dogs, frightened a suicide bomber at a military base.
Rather than getting inside the building with the soldiers, the bomber set off his weapon in a doorway, and the dogs were credited with saving the lives of dozens of soldiers.
When Army Medic Sergeant Terry Young returned home this year he arranged for Target to join his family.
The dog was the subject of many articles, and appeared on television programs- including The Oprah Winfrey Show.
On November 12, Target got out of the Young’s back yard. They posted messages online and contacted TV stations which did reports on the missing animal.
When a neighbour found the animal, who did not have a microchip or tag, he called the pound.
That evening Young found his pet’s picture on a website used by Pinal County dog catchers to help owners track lost pets but, thinking he would not be able to pick up the dog during the weekend, he went to get her on Monday.
When he got there a staff member brought out a dog, but he told them it was the wrong one and showed them a photo of Target wearing her pink camouflage collar.
The director of the shelter later came out and told him there had been a mistake and his dog had been put down.
"I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog," Young told The Arizona Republic.
The employee who euthanized Target was placed on paid administrative leave Monday, but on Friday was fired.
"When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow," Ruth Stalter, the county animal control director, said. “Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures."
Target's cremated remains will be given to her family.
"The four-year-old is really taking it hard right now," said Young. "She's saying we need to get the poison out of her so she can come home. She can't grasp the idea that she's gone."
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