‘They’re our Western Lakes loves’: Dogs involved in Pewaukee plane crash ready for adoption

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‘They’re our Western Lakes loves’: Dogs involved in Pewaukee plane crash ready for adoption

WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) — Just a day after crash landing onto the Western Lakes Golf Club in Pewaukee, Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County says seven dogs are ready for adoption and the others will be available soon.

“The animals are in fantastic, fantastic shape,” explained Maggie Tate-Techtmann, director of organizational development at HAWS. “Some of them are awaiting surgery for their regular spay and neuter and will be available starting tomorrow and into the weekend. They are just doing absolutely wonderful.”

Three people and 53 dogs were onboard a twin-engine aircraft that was transporting the dogs from southern shelters to HAWS and partnering shelters for better care, with the hope of finding them forever homes. Instead of landing at the Waukesha County Airport, the plane touched down on the fifth green at Western Lakes before sliding hundreds of feet, sheering off its wings in some trees and coming to rest near a bunker on the third fairway. Amazingly, everyone onboard and the dogs were all able to walk away with just minor injuries.

“We already had vans over at the airport, we had crates, we were ready to go. It was a matter of kind of rerouting and pivoting to Western Lakes instead of at the airport,” Tate-Techtmann said. “We have a very prepared team that is always prepared for the unexpected.”

Unexpected was the phone call Western Lakes General Manager Jason Hoelz received from his course superintendent.

“I was just working in my office and got a call from the superintendent, nothing unusual, except for him telling me there was an airplane that crashed on the golf course,” Hoelz said. “Every day’s different, but nobody expects this.”

Hoelz says the course experienced some damage to the turf and trees on the course that will be addressed during the winter months.

“We’re going to get it all cleaned up,” Hoelz said. “Spring play will not be affected.”

As for the dogs, the community has rallied around the furry friends. Twenty-one of the dogs are currently at HAWS while thirty-two others are at HAWS partner shelters scattered across southeastern Wisconsin. In just a day, HAWS received over $12,000 in donations, including waived adoption fees for the dogs and funding to provide training classes for the dogs, now nicknamed the Western Lakes Loves.

“Anything we were to raise above the $20,000 mark will go into our Annie’s Fund, which is a fund we have set up for medical needs for pets in our care, as well as alumni to have the chance to come back to us if there’s an issue with their animal,” Tate-Techtmann said. “We have an incredible community that knows how to live humane and is interested in caring for these dogs.”

Of the twenty-one dogs currently at HAWS, seven are currently available for adoption. They’re already getting attention as well, with the Lake Country Fire and Rescue service announcing several members who helped rescue the dogs from the plane are now applying to adopt the animals.

“I would anticipate that they will all be ready to go home by the end of the week,” Tate-Techtmann said. “These Western Lakes Loves are going to all get wonderful homes but can also act as ambassadors for this transport process.”

The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are continuing to investigate the crash. The NTSB says a preliminary report is expected to be released within two to three weeks.

Those interested in adopting one of the dogs can visit the HAWS website here: https://hawspets.org/adopt/

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