Hero Dog 'Target' Accidentally Killed


Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's Honor
I am a sucker for my pups. My husband and I picked them up when we were in the Army. We saved them from kill shelters when they had only hours left to live. They were my first babies, and I treat them like my children. They are family.


Dogs are the best for depression -- like the kind that sets in when a husband deploys on a dangerous mission, leaving his wife and baby in -50-degree Fairbanks, Alaska, with few friends and no family. 


They absorb depression and tears and give back only adoration and kisses. When we had to let go of one pup suffering from cancer last year, it killed me.


So I can imagine how devastating it would be to meet a furry family member in war-torn Afghanistan. Then to have that same pup save my buddies and me from a suicide bomber. Then to move hell and high water to have that hero pup come home to me and my family ... all for naught.

Last weekend a pup named Target did not survive the weekend at an Arizona animal shelter after a shelter employee (now on administrative leave) failed to follow the rules.

Target had a rough life. She was so named because Afghan soldiers would shoot at her for target practice. She was shot in the leg, deliberately run over, and attacked by wild dogs, but American soldiers adopted her and cared for her in war-torn Afghanistan -- and in return she protected them with her life. Target attacked a suicide bomber and survived the detonation of the bomb (no soldiers lost their lives). She was lauded a hero on Oprah. Yet Target lasted only a short time here in the United States.

Target escaped through an open gate in her backyard and ended up spending the night in an animal shelter. She was, by all accounts, well-behaved and healthy. The sad part: She was euthanized before her family could pick her up.

Yes, she escaped from her yard. No, she wasn't wearing a collar -- nor was she micro-chipped. However, her owner enlisted a local news station and the Internet to find his dog. He discovered Target had been picked up by the pound on a Friday evening, and assuming the shelter was closed, he waited until Monday morning to call. Less than 72 hours after his dog went missing -- it was too late!

Understandably, the owner, Sgt. Terry Young and his family -- including his three children -- are devastated. 

Click for Target's Facebook Page

"The 4-year-old is really taking it hard right now," Young said. "She's saying we need to get the poison out of [Target] so she can come home. She can't grasp the idea that she's gone."

Personally, I am outraged and devastated that such a noble dog that saved so many lives would so thoughtlessly be put down.

Kill-shelters make me sick! I wonder if such a healthy, beloved dog could be put down so thoughtlessly, how many other dogs have died needlessly in kill shelters?

death, death penalty, in the news, terrorism


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I cannot believe that she was euthanized after such a short period of time and her family didn't even have time to get her. That breaks my heart. :(

hotic... hoticedcoffee

That is so sad.  I'm a shelter volunteer for several no-kill shelters in my area, and even though I know these animals aren't in danger of losing their lives, it's still heartbreaking and every time I'm there I want to take them all home.  I would be out of my skin with rage if I was Sgt. Terry.  So sad and unnecessary.

Scout... ScoutsHonorHMR

I hear both of you!  I was sobbing writing this story thinking of my own pups.  Both were literally dead dogs walking when I rescued them.  Healthy, beautiful, giving, generous. Sixteen years later, one gone, and one tottering on his last legs, I realize hwo blessed I was and am.  Poor Sgt. Terry!!!

As an update, the worker had 30! dogs to euthanize by herself that morning.  No wonder.  I almost don't blame her, but definitely blame the system.  Kill shelter must stop and instead mandatory spay and neutering would be the key to ending suffering and diseased dogs on the streets.


nonmember avatar Yorkshireborn

Bastards.......they are like that at our local shelter too. Some friends of our handed their dogs in on a saturday afternoon because of eviction for their home we went monday morning to go rescue the dogs and keep them untill the family got back on their feet only to find the dogs had already been destroyed in less than 48hrs.....they are all operating on some hush hush rules if you ask me......sick isnt the word

nonmember avatar Angie

This sickens me to no end. My God, what bastards. We almost lost our first cat to the pound, because they decided to kill a few days early. He was in a female cage, we picked him out for adoption and he had a 5 day wait, we came back and he was to be killed 2 days earlier just because they felt like it, but a lady from a no kill shelter rescued him. It took us 2 days to track her, and lots of cussing, screaming and crying, but we got him. He's still my sweet baby, along with our lab. The majority of people who work in those shelters aren't with it at all. Now I'm crying.

Mj Manning

To say "the majority of those people ... aren't with it" is really not fair.
As an animal advocate for 22+ years working for a gov't run animal control, I can tell you all the biggest problem with this story is the rules at THAT shelter... WHY was ONE person in charge of running the euthanasia? Federal guidelines require TWO people to be present at every euthanasia, and just to be sure - it's not a pleasant job! Someone has to do it, there simply aren't enough homes for them all. Sadly, there are a lot of mistakes on this poor pup. Why didn't she have a tag? a microchip? why didn't her people at the least call the shelter and leave a message they were looking for the dog?? I see far too many just assume their animal will be there when it's convenient for them to decide to go find her. I am truly heartbroken for this pup! So many mistakes and it's hardly the ONE person's fault who was left to do a terrible job all alone. There are many who share in this tragedy. Rather than point fingers of blame, why not write letters to the city council of Phoenix, or something, to start taking a stance and getting rules, regs, and ordinances changed. Maybe the CITY decided 72 hrs is all the animals are allowed... Pointing fingers doesn't bring the dog back, nor will it save any others.

Chelsea Gilbert

This reminds me of my cat. When I was younger, my parents had taken her to a kill shelter. They told them that if they could not find her a home, that we would take her back till we did. They didn't even attempt to call us, and she wasn't even there for a week before they killed her. MAKES ME SICK.

nonmember avatar donna harrison

This illustrates perfectly the fact that every shelter in the U.S. should be a no kill shelter. There is absolutely no excuse for the way we treat our domestic animals in this country. The dog actually survived a primitive country in which their attitudes toward domestic animals are also quite primitive, only to be treated worse here. It's not the owner's fault, it's our system for which there is no excuse. We should all be ashamed. If this dog's premature death has a purpose, that is it.

nonmember avatar joan grandy

Such a "Regrettable action" This shelter must re-do their rules for euthanasia, and other shelters should take note so this NEVER happens again. Such a loss!!!

Nancy McGowan

How absolutely heartbreaking! Look at her face, and a true hero! I will not forget this story. It will prompt a lot of questions that need to be addressed at shelters throughout the world. Maybe her death will stop others, it seems that's what God meant her to do, bring awareness to many wrongs in this world for humans and animals alike. xoxoxoxo

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