“Target,” a dog praised as a hero for saving U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan from a suicide bomber, died Monday after an Animal Care & Control employee accidentally euthanized the wrong dog.
On Friday, Pinal County Animal Care and Control picked up a stray dog in the San Tan Valley area and brought it back to the shelter for the weekend. Monday morning, the dog the employee grabbed was not scheduled to be euthanized.
"I am heartsick over this,” said Animal Care and Control Director Ruth Stalter. “I had to personally deliver the news to the dog's owner and he and his family are understandably distraught. We work hard to get strays reunited with their owners. When it comes to euthanizing an animal, there are some clear-cut procedures to follow. Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures."
Target recently appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show . According to the show’s website, Target was one of three dogs that woke up soldiers in Afghanistan when an alleged suicide bomber tried to bring explosives into the barracks. The dogs reportedly bit the intruder as well, according to the site.
“An investigation in underway and we will cooperate fully,” Stalter said. “We will also thoroughly review procedures to ensure that something like this does not happen again.”
The Pinal County employee has been placed on administrative leave.
YouTube video about Target