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Pug life: Milwaukee Pug Fest attracts 1,700 dogs, 2,900 humans; raises more than $40K

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In this May 19, 2013, photo Lucas Purdy, 1, and Peke the pug won first place in one of the costume contests at Milwaukee Pug Fest in Franklin, Wis. The annual event, that helps pay for medical and dental bills for rescued pugs, attracted more than 1,700 pugs and other smushy-faced dogs along with 2,900 humans from the U.S. and Canada. (AP Photo/Carrie Antlfinger) (The Associated Press)

Milwaukee Pug Fest, billed by organizers as the largest such event in North America, had its best year yet.

The annual gathering in a Milwaukee suburb Sunday attracted more than 1,700 pugs and other smushy-faced dogs along with 2,900 humans from the U.S. and Canada.

Pug Fest founder Rick Kopaczewski (kop-ah-CHESS-kee) says early estimates show more than $40,000 was raised this year to help pay for medical and dental bills for rescued pugs. They've raised about $240,000 since the festival started 9 years ago.

The festival features pug talent and costume contests and pug races.

Kopaczewski said Monday he never expected the event to be so popular. He says attendance jumped about three years ago when they started using Facebook to connect with pug owners.

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Watch the AP video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6B9WK5mtZA

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