By Eddie WrennDaily Mail
7 October 2008
**Please sign the petition
to save Ratchet
**See also the SPCA article
on RatchetA soldier who saved the life of a young puppy in Iraq and expected to bring him back home with her could see her dog executed by her U.S. superiors
Sgt. Gwen Beberg befriended puppy Ratchet while serving in Iraq, and sent regular dispatches to her home in Minneapolis charting the dog's process, with 100s of fans tuning in on Facebook to follow the pup's life.Young Ratchet could face the death-penalty by U.S. Army officials
But the U.S. military takes a strict line with soldiers befriending animals, and confiscated Ratchet as Sgt. Beberg prepared to fly home from Baghdad Airport at the weekend.
Now animal charity Operation Baghdad Pups, which has the motto 'No buddy gets left behind', is pleading with the U.S. Army to allow Ratchet to fly out of the country - amid fears the military will shoot the puppy in the head execution-style.
Sgt. Beberg's mother Patricia said: 'This year has been extremely difficult on my daughter and her family. It has been a year of disappointments, loneliness, and fear because of all the sacrifices the army has required of Gwen.
'Ratchet was the savior of her sanity. Now they have cruelly ripped Ratchet away from her and sentenced him to death. I don't know how my daughter will cope. Ratchet has been her lifeline.'
Sgt. Beberg is also under military investigation for befriending the dog that saved her life.Gwen with 'lifeline' Ratchet in Iraq
A close friend of Sgt Beberg said: 'It hasn't been easy for her - and the puppy she saved has been one of the few things that has kept her going.
'She's shared pictures of him as he grew from a frightened ball of fur to an adorable young dog.
'She's kept us up-to-date on his travel schedule, and badgered us into contributing money to bring him home.
'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.
'It was so close... Ratchet was on his way to the airport. And now he might be killed, just because some power-hungry officers decided to flex their muscles and punish an innocent animal because Gwen dared to care about him.'Ratchet as a puppy: An international campaign has now been set up to save the Army's policy
One soldier wrote to Baghdad Pups: 'I have sacrificed a lot to serve my country. All that I ask in return is to be allowed to bring home the incredible dog that wandered into my life here in Iraq and prevented me from becoming terribly callous towards life.'
The charity Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International has joined Baghdad Pups in asking the U.S. Army to show clemency to Ratchet, and allow the dog to return to gwen's parents in Minneapolis and friends of Gwen have launched a campaign to get American senators to intervene.