Target, on right“Dogs get
euthanased; why not humans?” is one of the oldest chesnuts in the euthanasia
debate. One counter-argument is the experience of a recently euthanased dog.

In a case which
has shocked the US, an Afghan dog who was adopted after saving the lives of American
soldiers from a suicide bomber, was euthanased by mistake. Target, from the Dand Aw Patan district, in the eastern Paktia Province near
the Pakistani border, received a hero’s welcome when he joined a family in
Arizona. She even appeared on Oprah!

Unfortunately, she escaped from her yard
and was captured by the animal control authorities. Her owner recognised her
picture on the internet and arranged to pick her up. But, in the meantime, an
employee gave her a “PTS” (put to sleep, or lethal injection). There has been a
massive outpouring of grief. The local county has offered the family the
services of a grief counsellor and a candlelight vigil will be held on December
3.

There
will be an official investigation into the animal shelter’s work practices. A former employee told a local TV station that that
he had almost euthanized the wrong animal several times. “They said, ‘Ah, don’t
worry about it, mistakes happen,’ and we went on,” he said “I sedated a dog
that wasn’t supposed to be put to sleep. Thank God another officer found it.”

If it is so easy for doctors to swap IVF
embryos or operate on the wrong leg, isn’t it possible that careless suicide
assistants could usher the wrong person into the next world? If it happens to
dogs, why not to humans? ~ New York Times,
Nov 18

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.