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JoAnna Lou
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Accidental Euthanasia
A canine war hero is PTS by mistake
Sergeant Terry Young and Target on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Last week I was heartbroken to find out that the story of an amazing canine war hero ended in tragedy

In February, Target, a Shepherd mix, and two other stray dogs captured the hearts of animal lovers all over the world when they confronted a suicide bomber and saved the lives of dozens of soldiers in Afghanistan.

After much media attention, the Puppy Rescue Mission raised thousands of dollars to bring two of the dogs, Target and Rufus, over to the United States in July. The dogs were met with much fanfare and even appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Target was adopted by Sergeant Terry Young, an Army medic that was among the soldiers saved by the dogs. 

Living in Arizona was an adjustment for Target, who wasn’t used to being confined, and two weeks ago he escaped from the Youngs’ yard. Target ended up in Pinal County’s animal control without identification tags or a microchip. Tragically, by the time Sergeant Young got to the shelter, Target had been euthanized by accident.

Unfortunately, these types of mistakes are more common than we’d like to think. Human error is inevitable, so shelters often have multiple checkpoints for identification, like microchips.  

Who knows if Target would’ve been saved if he had identification tags or a microchip, but it’s important to take every precaution possible to ensure our pets will find their way home.

A candlelight vigil is planned for December 3rd to honor Target. Visit his Facebook page for updates.

 

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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