Wisconsin animal shelter flooded by ‘hundreds’ of offers to adopt dogs who survived plane crash

Rescue worker says her group ‘overwhelmed’ by level of public support and donations

Io Dodds
Wednesday 16 November 2022 04:34 GMT
<p>A plane carrying 53 dogs crashed in Wisconsin</p>

A plane carrying 53 dogs crashed in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin animal shelter that rescued 53 dogs from a plane crash on Tuesday has received “hundreds” of offers to adopt the lucky survivors.

The Human Animal Welfare Center of Waukesha County (HAWS) told The Independent that it had been inundated with donations and inquiries about the hounds, who were being flown from Louisiana to Wisconsin for adoption.

"Our phones haven't stopped ringing all day,”said HAWS communications specialist Jennifer Smieja. “The response from our community has been absolutely overwhelming.

"We have had so many people that have inquired about adopting, or is there some way they can help with donations, or come in to help with the dogs – bringing in towels and toys and treats and that kind of thing...

"Our faith in humanity has been restored because of the care and compassion that we've seen today."

She estimated that the organisation had received "hundreds" of inquiries about adopting the dogs, although she did not know the exact number because they are split between phone calls, emails, and messages on social media.

The 53 dogs had been on their way to HAWS' kennels from New Orleans when their plane apparently lost one of its engines and set down hard on a golf cause in Pewaukee, Wisconsin on Tuesday.

The plane's three human crew survived without life-threatening injuries, as did the 53 dogs. Around two dozen HAWS staffers and volunteers were already waiting to pick them up from the airport, meaning they were able to quickly rush to the scene.

"When we first started getting word that the plane had made an emergency landing, and we were responding to the scene, we had lots of visions in our heads of what we might be encountering," Ms Smieja told The Independent.

"It turned out to be just this huge group of people coming together to help save the dogs and make sure the people were okay. And now it's continued in the hours since.”

By Tuesday evening HAWS had raised donations of more than $2,600 in a Facebook fundraiser to help care for the dogs, in addition to another $1,500 to $2,000 raised through other channels.

Ms Smieja said that amount would typically take weeks or a month to raise, even during special fundraising drives. "It's kind of unreal," she said. "We don't normally have a day where we get these kinds of donations in just hours."

HAWS is now treating the dogs' injuries and assessing their personalities, including any behaviour problems and any mental trauma that they might have suffered in the crash or in their previous lives.

Once that is done, Ms Smieja said, the dogs will be advertised for adoption on HAWS' website as usual.

"We never know what any animal is going to be like until we've had a few days to spend with them," she said. "We've always felt very strongly that's the most important thing we can do is make these matches last, and make sure that both the pet and the person are well suited for each other.”

"We're open seven days a week, and our doors are ready to welcome people who are interested in adopting."

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