Milwaukee Pug Fest All About Having Fun, Raising Funds

May 5, 2009

The Fifth Annual Milwaukee Pug Fest, scheduled for Sunday, May 17, 2009 from 10:30 am – 4 pm at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex, 6000 W. Ryan Rd in Franklin, has dual objectives: fun and raising funds for pug rescue.


Milwaukee Pug Fest is a celebration of pugs, a five and one-half hour love letter to the chunky, snorty and sweet-natured breed. Attracting more than 1,200 pugs with their owners in tow, the Fest’s attractions include pug races, a costume and talent contest, exhibits, vendors, a silent auction, animal communicator, pet portraits and nail trimming. Behind the Pug Fest’s merriment, however, lies a much deeper purpose: to raise funds for cash-strapped and overwhelmed local and regional pug rescue organizations. The event will host Pug rescues from Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Minnesota, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas and Illinois.


Local shelters such as the Wisconsin Humane Society, Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha, Elmbrook Humane Society, Humane Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Puppy Mill Project will be attending and educating the public.


“The current economy woes don’t just affect people – it affects their pets, too,” notes Rick Kopaczewski, President of Pug Hugs, Inc., the non-profit organization that puts on the yearly Pug Fest. According to Kopaczewski, displaced former homeowners often find themselves without a home they may share with their treasured pets, or simply unable to pay for veterinary care. “We’re seeing a record number of relinquished and abandoned pugs across the nation. What we desperately fear is that some of the local rescue groups will be forced to turn senior pugs or those with health problems away to face uncertain futures at animal shelters.”


In its fourth year in operation, the Pug Fest’s attendance has skyrocketed to more than six times its first year turnout. Attracting pug aficionados from not only the Milwaukee and Chicago areas but across the Midwest and nation, the Milwaukee Pug Fest is the second largest pug festival in the world, Kopaczewski says with pride. “We are very fortunate to have been able to garner so much support and interest from the public. Even people who don’t have pugs show up! I think it must be the races. Or maybe it’s the costumes.”


The 2009 Milwaukee Pug Fest is sponsored by PETCO, PETCO Foundation, Royal Canin and Pug Spot. Pug Hugs, Inc. d/b/a Milwaukee Pug Fest is a Wisconsin non-profit corporation with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, organized and administered entirely by volunteers. Its mission is to raise funds for pug rescue organizations as well as increase awareness of responsible pug ownership, care and breeding. To find out more, please visit

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