On November 19, 2010, the employee responsible for not following protocol and erroneously euthanizing Target was fired from Pinal County Animal Care & Control. While mistakes are often not reason for termination, there is no excuse for cutting corners when taking animals' lives.
In addition to protecting Pinal County's animals by terminating the employee who killed the wrong dog, KOLD News 13 reports that Lisa Garcia, Assistant County Manager for Health & Human Services, said,"We are continuing to look into management practices and procedures at Animal Care & Control to ensure that something like this cannot happen again."
Update 11/19/10: Four days after Target's death, Pinal County officials announced that the employee who did not follow procedures and mistakenly euthanized the dog has been fired.
While it may seem unfair to call for the employee's termination when a chain of unfortunate events led up to the incident, the fact is that the employee ignored shelter protocol, which resulted in the death of the wrong dog.
"Target," a former stray dog who earlier this year saved dozens of soliders' lives in Afghanistan by scaring off a suicide bomber, was mistakenly put to sleep yesterday by an Arizona animal shelter employee who did not follow proper protocol.
The unidentified employee is currently on paid administrative leave.
Last Friday, Target escaped from the yard of Sgt. Terry Young, who had brought the dog home with him to Arizona after his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Target was picked up and taken to the Pinal County Animal Care and Control in Casa Grande, Ariz. On Monday morning, the shelter employee confused Target with another dog that was scheduled to be put down, and euthanized her.
In a statement, shelter director Ruth Stalter said the employee did not follow the shelter standards for euthanizing an animal. "Based on my preliminary investigation, our employee did not follow those procedures," Salter said. "I am heartsick over this. This is unacceptable and no family should be deprived of their companion because procedures were not followed."
This is unacceptable indeed, and it is also unacceptable that the employee was not immediately dismissed if she did not follow proper procedures.
Please sign the petition asking the shelter to terminate this employee to prevent tragic cases like Target's from ever happening again.