“Your Petition Is The Talk of the Embassy Right Now”: The Incredible Phone Call One Care2 Member Received

On June 17, Eastern Securities, an American-run company operating in Kuwait, murdered at least 24 of their bomb-sniffing dogs. Using euthanasia medicines that were not designed for dogs, staff at this security firm slowly and methodically subjected these dogs to an excruciating death. A reporter later discovered their bodies decomposing and bloated in the desert like discarded garbage.

Why did the company kill so many of their highly-trained K9s? Those who are familiar with the slaughter point to either profit or revenge.

Shortly beforehand, Eastern Securities lost a contract they’d had with the Kuwait National Petroleum Company, which had been paying the firm roughly $9,900 per month for each dog to detect explosives at its oil-drilling sites. The company had also been neglecting and mistreating these dogs for years, causing them to become unhealthy – and even though Eastern Securities was responsible for providing veterinary care for their K9s, it often failed to do so.

Former employees believe the company euthanized its own dogs in order to “cut expenses.” Alarmingly, after the slaughter, another 60 to 90 dogs still remained in their kennels.

When Amy Swope heard this story, she was horrified. Since she knew the company’s owner is American, she decided to contact the U.S. Embassy to ask them to intervene and protect the rest of the dogs from a similar horrible fate. Still, she wasn’t sure how to go about catching the Embassy’s attention.

Then some friends suggested an idea to her: channel her outrage, and start a petition. Amy followed their advice, and her Care2 petition urging the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait to rescue the remaining dogs in Eastern Securities’ custody has attracted more than 210,000 supporters.

What’s more: the U.S. Embassy is paying attention. And Amy is directing this entire campaign from halfway across the world – in Tokyo, Japan.

Care2 members have been so grateful for the work Amy is doing to help save these dogs that I wanted to sit down and learn more about her campaign. What I didn’t expect to hear were stories of surprise phone calls from partiers at the Embassy, big-name organizations stepping in to help, and the tale of the time she took on Drey’s Alert Dogs in Texas.

Read on to learn more from Amy, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts and praise in the comments!

Amy, you weren’t sure you wanted to create a petition at first until some friends convinced you. So what was it like for you to start this petition and this campaign?

I had never started a petition before, so I really didn’t know how much emphasis people actually put on these. I didn’t know if lawmakers or embassies or anybody like that would even listen. I didn’t know whether or not the public would even care enough to sign it, but I thought, you know, at this point I’m willing to try any option to get help for these dogs.

So I sort of went into it with an open mind, and after I launched the petition, it just sort of started taking off on its own. In the beginning, I only hoped to get 1,000 signatures — and then it kept going and going and going. I didn’t have any idea that it would get that big. It was a total shock to me! I had thought, “Oh, 1,000 signatures – that’s enough to make somebody at the US Embassy in Kuwait notice.” I had no idea how many people would actually care about it.

So I guess my feeling about going into the petition was that I didn’t know what to expect. I was just a little overwhelmed by the situation and I was using the petition as a means to get help in any way I could, and it turned out to be one of the best methods of getting help.

You’ve collected more than 210,000 signatures in just five weeks. What was your reaction when you saw how much attention your petition received?

I was completely shocked. At some point, I realized, “Wow, this is actually going places.” Once it reached 30,000 signatures, that’s when I really I thought, “Somebody’s going to listen to us because there are so many people behind this right now.” So I sent it to the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International (SPCA-I), who linked up with the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait. Sometimes it takes a big organization like that to help out, because maybe the U.S. Embassy won’t listen to me on my own. The SPCA-I also reached out to Mission K9 Rescue and said, “We’ll help any way we can. What can we do for these dogs?” And Mission K9 said, “Great, can you get a petition to the Embassy?” So the SPCA-I linked up with the Embassy and submitted the petition. By that point, the petition had about 150,000 signatures.

I didn’t know what happened after that – I didn’t really know if anyone would listen or if anybody cared, but then I got an amazing message from a woman who was working in Kuwait and was at a party at the U.S. Embassy. She called me and said, “I know you don’t know me, but your petition is the talk of the Embassy right now. They don’t know what to do as far as legally, but they’re looking into it, because they see that so many people care about what’s going on right now. I think that there’s no way they’re going to ignore it.” So it was a really big thing for me to hear, because until then, I didn’t know where the petition was going to go from there.

And then shortly after that, I found out that the Embassy had been in contact with Eastern Securities about the dogs, just to speak with them about the situation. They put one of the American program managers in touch with one of the local rescues. And that’s how they got the ball rolling to get the rest of the dogs some help.

Mission K9 rescue is the group that brought the dogs home from Kuwait and they’re fostering the dogs before they can get homes for them. I know that the SPCA-I has offered financial backing for Mission K9. Even though Mission K9 has their own donations and support, to move multiple dogs across international borders is a very big and expensive project.

How did your friends and family react?

Everybody’s really supportive, but then again, my family is full of long-time advocates! My dad and mom are civil rights people who are sort of hippies at heart, and my sister and I had exposed another dog company prior to this, so we’re sort of a family of advocates. So, they’re not really that surprised!

I actually think the work my sister and I did before this shows the power of using petitions to make a difference. The company in Texas that we exposed was a service dog company for diabetic children, and we didn’t get nearly the results from that, that we’re getting from this situation. Maybe part of that is the nature of the situation, because one company focused on war dogs and the other on service dogs — I don’t know. But I do know that we didn’t get any government attention on the first situation at all, and nothing really happened until years later when the company got shut down for basically neglecting the animals. But we didn’t have a petition then, and we didn’t have anybody going to bat for us, so honestly, I really do feel like this current petition moved the Embassy. I think it was instrumental in shining a light on the dogs’ plight and getting them some much-needed attention. I really do.

What advice would you give to someone wants to make change in the world, but is maybe unsure of how to do that or is a little shy?

I think my advice would be to believe in your mission with your entire being. I also think it’s critical to portray your cause in a very human way, because everybody understands the human need to help something that’s suffering. Everything that I was concerned about, I put it out there for people. I’m concerned that the dogs are suffering, I’m concerned that the K9 handlers weren’t getting paid for 3 months, and their families weren’t getting any paychecks, they’re going home with no money — and these are things that people can relate to. So, I say believing in your mission with your whole heart and working to reach people on a very human level is very important.People need to relate to something, they need to feel something, before they’re going to take any kind of action.

Amy tells us that telling our stories and sharing our emotions is key to making sure people care about our causes. Are you ready to make a human connection to keep animals safe? If so, start a petition now!

 

217 comments

Karen Martinez
Karen Martinez7 months ago

Thank you for sharing this article. We can make a difference when we choose to so do.

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Clare O
Clare O'Beara7 months ago

th

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Debbi W
Debbi W7 months ago

A few people working together can make quite a difference. Remember the story of the ant.

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JoAnn P
JoAnn Paris7 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Gino C
Past Member 7 months ago

thanks

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Justin M
Justin M7 months ago

Thanks

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Patty L
Patty L7 months ago

Thank you for your actions to save those dogs!

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Maggie D
Maggie D7 months ago

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." When Margaret Mead said those words, she could have been talking of those on care2, who start small and end up so BIG! We should all be hugely proud of care2!

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hELEN h
hELEN hEARFIELD7 months ago

Tyfs

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Marija M
Marija Mohoric7 months ago

tks

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