Kinship Circle: ACT NOW/ Don’t Let Soldiers Kill Dog In Iraq

October 12th, 2008 7:46 pm by Kelly Garbato

Update, 10/20/08, via Care2:

Great news! Thanks to you and the hard work of the good folks at SPCA, Operation Baghdad Pups, M.A.R.S. Safe Haven and M.A.R.S. Productions, Ratchet, the adopted Iraqi puppy, is now on a plane en route to the United States!

Here’s the wonderful story as told by M.A.R.S. Safe Haven, the sponsors of the Clemency for Ratchet petition:

“Operation Baghdad Pups program manager, Terri Crisp, and Ratchet met at the Baghdad airport tonight and boarded a plane bound for the U.S. After SPCA International received military clearance on Wednesday, October 15, for Ratchet’s travel, the organization set this final rescue plan into action. Last week, the world got behind Ratchet and Spc. Beberg’s plight; an online petition collected over 65,000 signatures pleading for Ratchet’s release.

“Crisp and Ratchet are scheduled to arrive at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC on Monday afternoon. Ratchet will be cleared by the Center for Disease Control and given a thorough medical evaluation by a local Virginia veterinarian. As long as Ratchet receives a clean bill of health, he will fly to his final destinations, Minneapolis, MN, on Wednesday.

“Northwest Airlines, a Minnesota base company, generously donated Ratchet and Crisp’s flights from Kuwait to Minneapolis, MN.

“You can receive future updates on continued efforts to help our men and women in the Armed Forces adopt their pets and bring about change to the military’s policies on this issue: info [at]

“Saving Private Ratchet has wonderful gifts with all proceeds going to the SPCA:

“Read more from the SPCA:

Also, I’ve posted an update from Kinship Circle after the original KC alert.

Update, 10/19/08, via Care2:

First, the good news: thanks to pressure from folks like you, SPCA International’s Operation Baghdad Pups secured Ratchet’s release!

Then, the bad news: the military did NOT release him in time for the flight back home on Wednesday. They gave Ratchet clearance to be released just 30 minutes before SPCA International’s rescue expert, Terri Crisp, was to lift off from the Baghdad tarmac and he missed the flight. SPCA International plans to make another emergency return trip to Baghdad to rescue Ratchet as soon as Sunday.

Obviously, these flights are expensive – but every animal’s life is worth it. SPCA International’s program Operation Baghdad Pups relies entirely on the generous donations of people like you. You can donate today at to help save Ratchet and other soldiers’ animals just like him who are waiting for safe transportation to the U.S.

Equally important, we must keep the pressure on the U.S. military to ensure that Ratchet remains safe until he can be rescued. And we must and make sure the military releases all animals adopted by servicemembers so they can be brought back the U.S. to the loving homes that await them.

M.A.R.S. Safe Haven, SPCA and Operation Baghdad Pups thank you for your support.

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Fri, Oct 10, 2008 at 2:55 PM
Subject: ACT NOW/ Don’t Let Soldiers Kill Dog In Iraq


10/10/08: Don’t Let Soldiers Kill Beloved Dog In Iraq

Easily modify letter. Copy/paste it into an email or print letter to fax or mail.

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Kinship Circle - 2008-10-10 - Don't Let Soldiers Kill Dog In Iraq 02

UPDATE: Sgt. Gwen Beberg’s puppy, saved from a life of hardship in Iraq, could be executed by U.S. superiors. Ratchet has until early next week to be released in order to make the Operation Baghdad flight out of Iraq…

Ratchet is at Camp Striker in Iraq. Fifteen other dogs were allowed to leave with Baghdad Pups on the flight Ratchet was supposed to be on. The base’s commanding officers seized Ratchet on his way to the airport. Ratchet has had his necessary vaccinations and is healthy. Ratchet needs a military release because the military is refusing to let him leave Iraq.


FULL CONTACT INFORMATION. Sample letter follows.


TIME IS OF ESSENCE: Phone calls and faxes are best way to communicate.

Senator Amy Klobuchar
ph: 888-224-9043 -or- 612-727-5220
Washington DC fax: 202-228-2186
Metro fax: 612-727-5223
web mail:

Senator Norm Coleman
ph: 800-642-6041 -or- 651-645-0323
Washington DC fax: 202-224-1152
St. Paul, MN fax: 651-645-3110
web mail:

Representative Keith Ellison
ph: 202-225-4755 -or- 612-522-1212
Washington DC fax: 202-225-4886
Minneapolis, MN fax: 612-522-9915
web mail:

*Kinship Circle cannot guarantee validity of email addresses. During campaigns, recipients may change or disable their email addresses. Emails from government, corporate, or institute websites may be incorrect.


SAMPLE LETTER — This letter is prepared to inform you about the issue.
Try to shorten and personalize your letter before sending.


Dear Minnesota Senator/Representative:

Please count my comments, along with similar messages you’ve received. I am dismayed that Sgt. Gwen Beberg — a Minnesota citizen presently deployed in the Middle East — cannot bring home her beloved Iraq puppy Ratchet.

Sgt. Beberg has remained on duty 15 months beyond her original tour due to the stop-loss policy. During that time she rescued Ratchet, a friendly mutt who became her lifeline. Naturally, Sgt. Beberg sought the aid of Baghdad Pups, an agency that negotiates clearance and transport for companion animals that U.S. soldiers “adopt” overseas.

But this story cannot end happily without your help. Ratchet now faces death at the hands of U.S. Army officers. The military seized the dog while en route to the Baghdad airport with Sgt. Beberg. An SPCA International press release claims: “Soldiers can face immediate court-marshal [for befriending animals] and some even see their animals brutally murdered by a direct gunshot to the head from commanding officers who will not bend the rules.”

This is unacceptable in the civilized world. Our Department of Defense must implement an adoption system that lets soldiers bring vetted pets back to the U.S. with them.

In the meantime, Baghdad Pups returns to Baghdad on October 15, 2008. Officials must free Ratchet before then so he can leave Iraq with Baghdad Pups. Sgt. Beberg, who leaves later in October, will be forced to abandon Ratchet to certain death if he doesn’t depart on that earlier flight.

I hope it is not too late for Ratchet and urge you to act promptly. Please do everything possible to get Ratchet on board with Baghdad Pups. Sgt. Beberg deserves a happy ending after serving her country. Anything less is extraordinarily inhumane and unjust.

Thank you,

For your reference:




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TO REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE for Gwen and other soldiers, donate to Baghdad Pups. Costs may run over $4000 to bring a dog or cat to the U.S., and Baghdad Pups receives 3-4 new requests from soldiers every week….

Operation Baghdad Pups


VIDEO – Rescuing Lava Became Marine Jay Koppelman’s Secret Mission

To contact SPCA International and Operation Baghdad Pups on Ratchet’s behalf, use special email address setup for him: SaveRatchet [at]




PETITION: Clemency for Ratchet

For Ratchet

Soldiers Coping In Iraq? Animal Abuse Is A Crime!


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———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Kinship Circle – kinshipcircle [at]
Date: Sun, Oct 19, 2008 at 8:22 PM
Subject: UPDATE – Iraqi Pup On Way Home To US!


10/19/08: UPDATE – Iraqi Pup Ratchet On His Way Home To US!
THANKS TO ALL who wrote, called, faxed and emailed! Kinship Circle

Iraqi puppy adopted by American soldier on charter flight en route to US

By KIM GAMEL | Associated Press Writer; 7:02 PM EDT, October 19, 2008

BAGHDAD (AP) _ Ratchet the Iraqi puppy finally had his day. An animal rescue group flew into Baghdad on Sunday and picked up the dog, which was adopted by Army Spc. Gwen Beberg, 28, of Minneapolis in a case that highlighted military rules barring troops from caring for pets while in Iraq.

Ratchet was loaded onto a charter flight, which took off Sunday night for Kuwait. He’s due in Minnesota later this week. It was the third try by Operation Baghdad Pups to get Ratchet out of the country on behalf of Beberg, who says she couldn’t have made it through her 13-month deployment without the affectionate mutt.

She and another soldier rescued the puppy from a burning pile of trash in May. Beberg’s quest to get the dog has gained international attention. More than 65,000 people from Illinois to Italy have signed an online petition urging the Army to let the puppy go to the United States.

The U.S. military said the dog was free to leave but American troops could not be responsible for its transportation. “We’re happy the SPCA has made arrangements for his safe travel to the U.S., we hope he has a long, happy, fruitful life there,” military spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Swiergosz said.

Beberg initially tried to send him with a military convoy from her base south of Baghdad to the airport for an Oct. 1 pickup. But the playful black dog with a touch of white on his nose, chest and paws was reportedly confiscated by an Army officer and sent back.

Baghdad Pups, a U.S. rescue program run by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International, tried again on Wednesday but was unable to get Ratchet to the flight, which took off with six other dogs instead. On Sunday, a private security firm collected Ratchet from the small base, put him into a pet carrier and transported him to the airport on Baghdad’s western outskirts.

Baghdad Pups coordinator Terri Crisp then took custody and boarded him on the charter. The effort will cost an estimated $5,000, according to the SPCA.

Beberg has been transferred to another military base to prepare for her departure from Iraq next month. Her mother said bonding with the 6-month-old puppy was a life-saver for her daughter. “He has been her emotional support, confidante, sanity-saver and a connection with something other than a war zone,” Patricia Beberg said Sunday in a telephone interview.

She also urged the U.S. military to reconsider its policy that bars troops from caring for pets while on duty or taking them home. “The animals are doing so much good for our soldiers, not only when they’re there but when they come home,” she said. “The military says it’s very concerned about their mental health … this is one way to help and it certainly doesn’t cost as much as years and years of therapy.”

Baghdad Pups has brought 56 dogs and six cats to the U.S. to be with their owners since February. The group says it is both rescuing animals who face abuse in Iraq, as well as helping soldiers who benefit from the bond developed with the animals.

The U.S. military cited several reasons for its pets policy, including health issues and difficulties in caring for the animals.

In June, a dog brought to the U.S. by Operation Baghdad Pups tested positive for rabies after it was euthanized for other health problems. SPCA International spokeswoman Stephanie Scroggs said one cat had to be put down.

ALSO READ: Saving Private Ratchet is a SUCCESS!!!!



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