UPDATE: Autism service dog injured, put to sleep

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Valley Center, Kan. -- It's a sad end to a story we first told you about Tuesday.

KAKE News has learned that an autism service dog had to be put to sleep after it was found severely injured.

Kim Shartzer, the dog's owner tells us that Jetson, the German shepherd was found injured in Hesston and taken to a Veterinary Clinic.

"Jetson was hit by a car yesterday. His spinal cord was severed and we had to make the tough call to have him euthanized." says Shartzer.

Previous Story:
A service dog for an autistic teenager has gone missing from the family's Valley Center home and they want the public's help in finding it.

The dog is a nine year old German shepherd named Jetson.

Jetson stays close by 16 year old Alessa Rank at her Valley Center home. Alessa describes Jetson as "Very important" in her life.

Alessa's mother Kim Shartzer says, "Jetson helps provide some independence for Alessa. He accompanies her when she wants to go outside and have some alone time. He's with her. He's kind of a reassuring presence. He also alerts when she begins having a meltdown, an autism meltdown. An autism meltdown is a severe form of tantrum."

Shartzer says Jetson will come alert her if Alessa is having a meltdown saying the dog would try to scratch a door down to get to her if she happens to be outdoors.

Shartzer says early Friday morning she let Jetson and and a younger shepherd pup training to be a service dog named Jasmine out in the back yard after being in all night. She says both have always come back. But for whatever reason the older German shepherd didn't come back.

Shartzer says, "We walked all over the neighborhood. We drove all over town. I've registered with every shelter and website and put fliers out everywhere."

If you know the whereabouts of the service dog you can email the family at kshartzer@cox.net or visit Kim Shartzer's Facebook page.

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