Hero Dog Accidentally Euthanized

INSIDE EDITION reports on the hero dog who saved the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan and wound up dead after a tragic mix up at an animal shelter.

She was hailed as a hero by Oprah. Target, the dog who saved the lives of American soldiers in a barracks in Afghanistan.

But just six weeks after her appearance on Oprah, Target is dead, the victim of a horrific blunder at an animal shelter. And the sergeant who adopted her is devastated.

Sergeant Terry Young was a National Guard medic in Afghanistan when he took in a stray and named her Target.

Sergeant Young and fifty fellow soldiers were in their barracks when a suicide bomber tried to sneak in. Target and two other guard dogs attacked and stopped the terrorist from getting inside. He detonated his bomb and blew himself to pieces, but the soldiers in the barracks all survived.

"She absolutely saved a lot of lives that night," said Young.

Sergeant Young felt such a debt to the dog that he moved heaven and earth to bring her to his home near Phoenix when his tour of duty came to an end. Target arrived in the U.S. and was pampered by Sergeant Young and his family.

Oprah was so moved by the story she invited Target and Sergeant Young to her show last month.

"Even Oprah fell in love with her," said Young.

But last week, Target got out of the gate at Sergeant Young's house and ran off. She was picked up on the street and taken to an animal control shelter. When Sergeant Young went to retrieve her, he got some grim news.

Young recalls, "The director proceeded to tell me that Target had been accidentally euthanized that morning. And I lost it. And while we were in the office, she handed me Target's collar."

Target's empty bowls and her collar are reminders of the tragedy that befell her.

A spokesman for the shelter told INSIDE EDITION, "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."

"She looked out for us and all she wanted in return was to be loved," said Young.

The employee at the animal shelter who put the dog down has been put on leave while the incident is being investigated.