Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
Last week a plane crashed into Waukesha County golf course while flying 53 dogs from overcrowded shelters to their new homes. Thankfully, all 53 dogs and the three humans on board survived the crash without life-threatening injuries. The humans were taken to a local hospital, and the dogs were tended to by vets associated with the Humane Animal Welfare Society (HAWS).
Maggie Tate-Techtmann, director of organizational development at HAWS, said that the dogs were coming as part of a “planned transport” through an organization HAWS has an ongoing partnership with. Since the HAWS team was already gathered to receive the animals at the airport where the plane was expected to land, they were able to quickly move to the golf course after learning about the crash.
In the days following the crash, many of the dogs involved became available for adoption. At least three of the first responders involved in rescuing the animals from the crash have adopted one of the dogs.
“As soon as I found out all of them were okay, my first thought was that, one of them is coming home with me. So this is my little Lucky,” said Lake Country Fire Rescue firefighter and EMT Elle Steitzer, speaking to WISN while holding the puppy.
Deputy Chief Tony Wasielewski told WISN that one of the dogs, Marley, jumped into his arms after the crash. The following day, he went to the Humane Animal Welfare Society of Waukesha County, which had taken in 21 of the dogs involved in the crash, including Marley.
“When they let her in the door she bypassed my wife, ran to me, jumped kind of into my arms, gave me kisses. I started to tear up a little bit and I said, ‘Oh boy, I guess we got a dog,'” Wasielewski said.
The plane crash itself was described as “relatively catastrophic” by Assistant Chief Matthew Haerter from Lake Country Fire and Rescue. “They went through trees, the wings actually came off of the aircraft, and then they came to rest several hundred feet after where they originally tried to place the aircraft,” he told reporters at a press conference. “This could have turned out so much worse,” Haerter added, saying that “the pilot did exactly what he should have done.”