In case you haven’t heard the horrible story about the military-dog, Target, here’s a brief recap:
A dog honored for saving US soldiers in Afghanistan by barking and snapping at a suicide bomber was accidentally euthanized this week at an animal shelter in Arizona. Target, a shepherd mix who even appeared on "Oprah," came to the San Tan Valley area this summer to live with Sgt. Terry Young and his family. After slipping out an open backyard gate at Young's home over the weekend, Target ended up at the local pound where a shelter employee mistakenly put her to sleep, the Arizona Republic reported. "I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog," Young told the NY Post. Ruth Stalter, the county animal director, said an investigation was under way.
The knee-jerk instinct is to blame the shelter worker for this tragic miscue, some going as far to call this worker “complete scum” and suggest that the worker should be “put down” the same way. As you know I am an over-the-top animal lover, and was deeply saddened to hear about the death of this dog, as I am when I hear about, or even think about, the death of any dog. But the truth: this kind of thing (dogs being put down) happens every day in shelters all over America, happens by the thousands in fact. Thousands of unlucky dogs that would run, and play, and serve a family happily, if only given the chance to live, never do get that chance. It sucks.
I can’t even think about the reality of what actually happens to so many homeless/unwanted pups, and I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to work in a shelter, and have to face this horrifying reality on a daily basis. For anyone to blame this shelter worker is insane. In fact, I bet this “worker” is actually a volunteer. I for one applaud any person willing to serve animals in this way, because I couldn’t do it. I know Ruth Stalter said that she was putting an investigation in motion, which, in my mind, kind of implicates the shelter worker. I hope that’s just fodder for the media. Because I can’t imagine what there is to investigate. This seems like nothing more than a bad mistake. I don’t think someone who devotes themselves to this sort of work would maliciously kill an animal. Do you?
If somebody needs to be blamed, I’d lay it on the owner: Sgt. Terry Young. Young allowed Target to get out of the yard, and clearly didn’t have the dog tagged or chipped. "I just can't believe that something like this would happen to such a good dog," Young told the NY Post. Well, of course it could happen, if the dog is able to escape and go unclaimed for the few days that any dog is held at a local pound before it’s put down. My anger is directed at this man. I don’t know about you, but if one of my dogs got away I wouldn’t eat, sleep, or breathe until I had her back again. There’s no way my baby would ever go a second without tags, ever get out of the yard, and sure as heck NEVER sit in a local pound for three to five days without being claimed. NEVER. This dog shouldn’ve died, no dog should ever die like this, and I am sorry for the shelter worker who has to shoulder this mistake, and I blame Sgt. Terry Young 100%, if I MUST lay blame. Instead of allowing the shelter worker, I mean volunteer, to take the heat, I hope Young falls on the sword. Then I hope he fixes the fence before getting another dog.