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Pug rescue still needs additional funds for its mission

Special Photo Pippi Longstocking with owner Becky Bowen participate in SEPRA's annual PugFest costume contest on Oct. 27. The nonprofit is still trying to raise additional funds.

Special Photo Pippi Longstocking with owner Becky Bowen participate in SEPRA's annual PugFest costume contest on Oct. 27. The nonprofit is still trying to raise additional funds.

SUWANEE -- At the end of October, swarms of flat-faced wrinkled pugs came to the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds for a day of fun at PugFest, an annual celebration of the dogs hosted by Southeast Pug Rescue and Adoption as its large yearly fundraiser.

But this year, the nonprofit fell short of its goal due to lack of attendance. PugFest raised $19,428. After accounting for the event's expenses of $9,900, SEPRA netted $9,528. The pug rescue is now $11,000 in debt and needs help to raise the additional funds.

"We are so very grateful to the approximately 750 people and 350 pugs who attended PugFest and donated so generously to our cause, but we are still in debt by about $11,000," SEPRA President Brenda Megel said. "We hope people will continue to visit our website and purchase items and make donations online."

At www.rescuepug.com, the organization is selling PugFest T-shirts, calendars and cookbooks, which weren't on sale at the event.

With the lack of funds, SEPRA made the decision to stop taking in new pugs as of Nov. 1 because it doesn't have the money for new veterinary bills while continuing to work down its debt.

Pugs who have already been rescued will continue to receive care and the search for a permanent home during this time.

"We so appreciate your continued support of our organization, we will get through this, as we have before and come back even stronger," Megel said on the nonprofit's Facebook page. "Quite honestly, we have fared better than most rescues in the recent years because of our wonderful foster homes, adoption coordinators and volunteers. If any of you would like to organize a fundraising project on behalf of SEPRA, we would welcome the assistance."