Pinal County Animal Control Employee Fired for Euthanizing War Hero Dog

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A county employee in Arizona has been fired after mistakenly euthanizing a dog that saved soldiers in Afghanistan and lived through explosions in the war-torn country, officials announced Friday.

The unidentified Pinal County animal control employee euthanized the female shepherd mix on Monday and was immediately placed on administrative leave. The dog named Target had been brought to the Phoenix area in August by Sgt. Terry Young after his tour of duty.

Target frightened a suicide bomber inside a military base and potentially saved dozens of soldiers’ lives, Young said. He said the dog was treated like royalty from then on at the base at Dand Patan, near the Pakistan border.

The dog escaped from the family’s back yard last Friday. Target didn’t have a tag or microchip and eventually wound up at the county pound.

Last Friday night, Young found Target’s picture on a Web site used by county dog catchers to help owners track lost pets. Young figured the shelter in Casa Grande was closed for the night and weekend. He showed up at the facility to claim his dog on Monday, only to find out she was dead.

County officials say the employee mistakenly took the dog out of its pen Monday morning and euthanized it. “I just can’t believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog,” Young told The Arizona Republic, which said the soldier and his family will get Target’s cremated remains.

County officials are declining to name the employee because of threats made to that person and angry telephone calls to the facility. “We are continuing to look into management practices and procedures to ensure that something like this cannot happen again,” said Lisa Garcia, assistant county manager for Health and Human Services.

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from the AP

0 thoughts on “Pinal County Animal Control Employee Fired for Euthanizing War Hero Dog”

  1. As much as I sympathize with this family over the loss of their pet, I am equally frustrated that they knowingly owned an escape prone dog and didn’t bother to put any form of identification on her.

    I believe that Target’s death illustrates something else about the situation of animals in this country. Had Target not been a “celebrity” her death would have gone unnoticed and unmourned. She would have been thrown in an incinerator or a landfill without so much as a second thought.

    The shelter worker deserves to be fired for killing a beloved pet. However, it is a sign of the total disorganization of this shelter and how many animals must be routinely killed at this shelter that just anyone could go in and euthanize an animal with no one else noticing.

  2. Im sorry that a family pet was euthanize accidentally , but “something like this” happens to hundred of “good dogs” (and cats) every single day. Overpopulation needs to stop, responsible owners need to sterilize and keep tags their animals, no if ands or buts!

  3. It is believed that someone opened the back gate with out the owner’s knowledge and that is how Target got out when he let her into the backyard to do her business, before feeding her. The dog had a pink collar on with a tag with a T on it. The collar also had her medal on it. The medal is missing and the owner wants to know what the shelter did with it.

    He also believes that even if the dog was microchipped, the employee that put Target down would not have bothered to check, since she just grabbed a dog without checking any paperwork.

    The news of Target’s death has gone worldwide, even as far as Australia and Germany. The fans and family of Target are praying that her death will not be in vain and that all kill shelters will be done away with.

    • As someone who worked in an animal clinic and watched people put down their pets for stupid reasons like “he can’t hold his pee anymore” or “I can’t keep him and I can’t give him away he’s 8 years old” .

      The problem is ignorance and arrogance and it goes much deeper then the kill shelters. You can’t get rid of the kill shelter without fixing the underlying problem.

      Can you imagine a world where you would slaughter your mother or father for peeing thier pants?! How about killing them because you decided you don’t want them to live with you anymore?!
      Yet these are the things your neighbors, friends, family , or even you YOURSELF have done.

      It is not A DOG that this “shelter Employee” murdered. She was not just any family pet. She was a BRAVE , KNOBLE, SOLDIER, Who was willing to give her life fighting a battle she didn’t understand to protect the life of her fellow AMERICAN SOLDIERS.

    • no doubt the system is wrong, but this worker came out and said to him, “You don’t mean that dog? She was skin and bones and had a prolapsed uterus.” In other words, she didn’t meet this woman’s expectations of a cared for animal. No checking, just “this one’s done.” A personal decision by someone who was so entrenched in the system, she callously thought she knew it all.

  4. I also forgot to mention that the owner did contact the shelter on Friday via their website/email system. He paid the fees online.

    It was the shelter that screwed up.

  5. If this owner wants to ensure that his beloved pet did not die in vain then he should use their celebrity to educate his local municipality on the No Kill Equation. Spaying/neutering family pets will not end the problem as it is only part of the solution. Only implementing the No Kill Equation, in its entirety will.


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