Sgt. Ballz arrived in the U.S. Tuesday. ( Courtesy photo )
A wanted man in Iraq, Sgt. Ballz is ready to make the United States his home.
The cat, formerly a resident of an American base in Tala Far, Iraq, became a mascot of the 1-230th Army unit out of Tennessee. With the base closing soon, orders were sent that there were to be no more animals on base.
When U.S. Army CW2 Cheryl Anderson, a member of the unit, and her fellow soldiers were told that those present would be euthanized by being shot to death, they decided to save their cat.
Anderson, a native Northern Californian and sister of Cindy Dover of Red Bluff, and her fellow soldiers launched a campaign they called Free 'Dem Ballz, enlisting the help of friends and family.
The group even created a Web site with a variety of items from hooded sweatshirts and tank tops to ties and binders to raise funds to bring the cat home.
Ballz, the apparent victim of a dog attack, was very thin and had a broken tooth when he first arrived on base, but quickly became the chief morale officer and mascot of the unit, Anderson said.
On Tuesday, Ballz, accompanied by members of SPCA International and fellow refugees from other areas named Elvis, Boo Boo, Squeaky, Spot, Oreo and Jasmine, landed at 3:50 local time at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, Dover said.
Ballz will be quarantined in Washington for two weeks and eventually live with a medic and serve as mascot of the Tennessee National Guard.
Profits from the Web site previously going to save Sgt. Ballz will now be sent to SPCA International to help bring other animals home, Dover said.