By YAMICHE ALCINDOR For Newsday.com
PERHAPS it was meant to be. Destiny, the dog that dodged euthanization in Arizona after a shelter worker confused her with hero war dog Target, has found a new home on Long Island.
Guardians of Rescue, a Nesconset-based nonprofit organization that organizes programs with people and animals, has agreed to take the dog and hopes the move will help save other dogs from being unnecessarily euthanized.
“Target died for a reason. . . . She saved this dog,” Brian Sperazza, a member of the rescue group who adopted Destiny into his Ronkonkoma home, said. “We need to get more laws to go into these shelters and protect these dogs so this never happens again.”
Target, a shepherd mix, gained international fame after she and two other dogs frightened a suicide bomber inside a military base in Afghanistan, saving several soldiers’ lives. Originally a stray in Afghanistan, Target was later flown to the Phoenix area and adopted by Sgt. Terry Young, one of the soldiers who claimed to have been saved by the dog.
However, in November, Target got out of Young’s yard, was picked up by officials and put into a shelter. On Nov. 22, Target was killed after a shelter employee mistook her for Destiny, a pit bull-shepherd mix who was to be euthanized. The two dogs were housed in the same kennel against common shelter policy, Robert Misseri, Guardians of Rescue president, said.
Destiny, who’s between 2 and 3 years old, rescuers say, arrived at Republic Airport in Farmingdale Wednesday morning.
Misseri said Destiny will now be the “poster pup” to call for the passage of Target’s Law, legislation he hopes could establish nationwide stringent euthanization standards and longer hold times for shelter dogs.
“These shelters are euthanizing too quickly,” he said. “Target’s Law will protect animals in municipal shelters and hold responsible negligence on behalf of employees.”
Misseri said he hopes Destiny will make frequent appearances across the country as they try to push forward the legislation. He said he envisions Destiny meeting legislators to show people the face of shelter dogs.