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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hero dog euthanized by mistake

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tavius, Trenedy, Terry and Mahala Young, with Target.
(Courtesy photo)
PHOENIX, Arizona -- Dogs love to roam. Given the slightest opportunity to explore the landscape, they take off, stopping only long enough to sniff out the territory, maybe mark the way home, then continue their brave explorations.

Target, a true American hero, set off on just such an exploration last week, abandoning the safety of her back yard home with Sgt. Terry Young, his wife, Melissa and their children, Tavius, Trenedy and Mahala.

She never made it home. She ended up at the Pinal County Care and Control shelter in Phoenix, Arizona, where she was mistakenly euthanized Monday morning, just hours before Young arrived to reclaim her.

Young, a Valentine, Nebraska high school graduate and the son-in-law of Mitch and Candy Farr of McCook, introduced McCook Daily Gazette readers to three incredible dogs in a story published Feb. 24, 2010. "True Heroes -- Rejected by Afghans, mutts save U.S. lives."

On Feb. 11, the dogs, Rufas, Sasha and Target, stopped a suicide bomber from entering Young's barracks in Dand Aw Patan, Afghanistan, saving the lives of several soldiers. The suicide bomber detonated his bomb outside of the barracks, while Rufas was still latched to his right leg. All three dogs suffered injury, Sasha succumbing to hers. Target, escaping serious injury, delivered four healthy pups two days later. The story soon became national news and people from around the world applauded the canine heroes.

Young returned to the United States in March, his tour of duty complete.

Just before boarding the Chinook that would take him on the first leg of a long journey home, he spent a lot of time loving Target up, saying what he was sure would be his final farewell.

All that changed on July 18, when Young received a message from the Puppy Rescue Mission asking if he was interested in permanently opening his home to Target, who was bound for the United States. On Aug. 8, Young wrote a second story for Gazette readers, "Hero Dogs arrive from Afghanistan," four days after Target arrived at his Arizona home.

Target, a media darling in the early weeks, settled in with Terry, his wife Melissa and their three children.

Young wrote in an email to CNN affiliate KPHO "I'm an absolute wreck today, and it's everything in my power to hold it together for me and my family. My 4-year-old son just can't understand what is going on with Target and keeps asking me to get the poison out of her and bring her home. They don't want her to go be with God yet."

The shelter director, Ruth Stalter, told CNN, "I am heartsick over this. I had to personally deliver the news to the dog's owner, and he and his family are understandably distraught. We work hard get to 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."






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My heart and prayer go out to Terry Young and family, for their loss, especially for the loss of an American (adopted) Hero First Degree, Target.

-- Posted by Navyblue on Wed, Nov 17, 2010, at 1:18 PM

This story is tragic and shows that there should be a 'no euthanasia' policy in all of our animal shelters. There is no excuse for the way we handle the problem of overpopulation of pets. There should be a moratorium against all breeding of puppies until every dog that is currently in animal shelters gets a good home.

It would be interesting to know how many millions or billions of dollars are spent in this country every year to maintain animal shelters. We should all be ashamed that any dog in that circumstance is killed.

-- Posted by no euthenasia on Wed, Nov 17, 2010, at 2:58 PM

What a heart breaking sad story. My heart goes out to that family!!!

-- Posted by susanne_1989 on Wed, Nov 17, 2010, at 8:42 PM

Our hearts and prayers go out to Target and her human family. But also, to all the unknown dogs and cats who likely have met the same fate throughout our country. We must do better as a people, as a nation. We are judged by how we treat the most helpless and voiceless among U.S. Also, the NYT version of this story mentions that soldiers felt the stray dogs came to be apart of their base family because the soldiers 'live like dogs'. Doesn't that also say so much about U.S.? When will we end this pointless suffering, at home and in Afghanistan? When will we shift our priorities, resources and talents toward healing and good instead of war and destruction?

-- Posted by twixter on Thu, Nov 18, 2010, at 6:13 PM

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