Ratchet, a stray puppy found on a burning pile of trash, was lucky enough to be rescued by Army Spc. Gwen Beberg. She took care of him and he took care of her. With the help of Baghdad Pups, she arranged to have him flown to the U.S. to live with her parents until she returns. At the last moment, the Army seized Ratchet and his future looked grim. But, now the Army has changed it’s mind and seemingly stepped back from the issue. Maj. Daniel Elliott, a spokesman for U.S. forces, said:
Ratchet is a wild dog indigenous to Iraq. A stray, befriended by a soldier. As such, we do not control him, nor can we ‘order’ him not to leave” the base.
It looks like Ratchet will be heading to his new home soon. Army Spc. Beberg may be paying a price for her efforts to save Ratchet. She is apparently facing demotion.
Don’t miss the video.
Lance Corporal David Motari, the Marine videotaped throwing a puppy into a rocky ravine, is being “separated” from the Marines and others involved in the incident are being disciplined. I suppose it’s at least some kind of justice. But, this isn’t the only video of servicemen abusing animals and clearly more needs to be done.
The Humane Society of the US has identified three areas where the Department of Defense needs to improve or change its policy concerning animals.
- American Servicemen are prohibited from adopting stray animals they befriend in Iraq.
- Pet and stray dogs are being killed in an attempt to prevent rabies although research finds that these culls are both ineffective and inhumane.
- There is no prohibition or punishment for cruelty towards animals in the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
You can help by contacting the Dept. of Defense and the various branches of the military and urging them to make a change.
(Update 9/25/09: You can read my recent interview with Maj. Dennis about Nubs here!)
Major Brian Dennis has returned from Iraq and was reunited with Nubs the dog. Nubs is the Iraqi dog that walked 70 miles to find the Marine who had befriended him. Dennis is looking forward to taking Nubs to the San Diego beaches and teaching him that playing in the surf is fun. Coming from a desert, Nubs wasn’t too sure about the ocean on his first trip to the beach with his foster parents. Nubs has been doing well while waiting for Maj. Dennis to return. He’s put on some weight, his coat has gotten smooth and shiny, and he’s been learning what it means to be cared for. We’re very glad Nubs and Brian Dennis have made it home safely.
You can learn a bit more about Nubs from the email I exchanged with Maj. Dennis. And about Nubs’ homecoming in February.
I checked previously with Major Dennis and he said it was okay to post his email address. You can write him at:
The SPCA International has launched Operation Baghdad Pups to bring home the dogs and cats befriended by US soldiers. It’s great to see these animals cared for after they’ve provided comfort and companionship to our soldiers in Iraq. I think the fact that soldiers keep rescuing these needy animals shows just how important they are to moral.
Operation Baghdad Pups has rescued Liberty who was found during a house raid, K-Pot who was found ensnarled in razor wire, and Charlie who was found as a puppy close to death. The program is now working to rescue 13 more animals rescued by US servicemen.