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Thousands of pugs take over Milw. Co. Sports Complex for “Pug Fest”

FRANKLIN (WITI) -- Upwards of a couple thousand pooches of the pug variety pawed their way into the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin on Sunday, May 19th for the annual fundraiser "Pug Fest."

"We're probably expecting about 1,700 to 1,800 pugs and pug mixes. There was a need for money to be raised for pug rescue because of the expenses -- the medical expenses and also -- a lot of the pug rescues were strapped for cash to pay for the medicals," Pug Fest founder Rick Kopaczewski said.

In the event's nine years, it has grown from hosting about 150 pugs to this year's estimated 1,800, and is now an international event.

Cheryl Gaw is with Pug Rescue South Africa, and says being in Milwaukee for Pug Fest is a dream come true for any pug lover.

"This is like absolute ‘Pug Heaven!’ This is just ‘pug mania!’ And what you can shop for here in ‘pug apparel’ is just—this is just amazing! This is like a kid in a sweet shop!" Gaw said.

There was plenty on hand to eat for the pooches and humans, including a chocolate-peanut butter pug faced cupcake -- items made available by dozens of Pug Fest vendors.

"They have a great nature. They’re sweet. They’re lovable, kind, and gentle. They’re playful. And they’re very, very cute," Milwaukee Pug Fest volunteer Diane Ponzo said.

In eight years, the event has contributed nearly $200,000 dollars for pug rescues. Last year alone, the event raised roughly $35,000.

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