East Moriches residents Jennifer Sopkl and her daughter Lily Sopkl had set their sights on Petunia, a black sheltie mix puppy, who was looking for a permanent home after being attacked by fire ants and saved from a kill shelter in South Carolina.
"She's cute," said Lily Sopkl, 7, who had hoped to make the 3-month-old Petunia her first pet. "I love her fur. She is nice and cuddly and friendly."
Her mother filled out a required adoption application to undergo a screening process in hopes of soon taking the 5-pound puppy home -- after they were first able to persuade Lily's father to get on board and donated $350. But another family beat them to the punch and adopted Petunia.
Petunia and five other four-legged friends from the Southampton-based Last Chance animal rescue were playfully wagging their tails as volunteers walked them around during the fifth annual agility expo and pet rescue fair Saturday.
More than 1,500 people attended the fair, sponsored by the Suffolk County Bar Association and the Suffolk Academy of Law, at St. Joseph's College in Patchogue.
"This event is to educate the public about humane education," said animal law attorney Amy Chaitoff, event coordinator and co-chairwoman of the bar association's animal law committee. Last year 32 animals were adopted through the event, she said. "The main goal is getting adoptable animals out to the public."
About 32 animal rescue groups participated in the fair and 26 vendors sold dog-friendly treats, toys and scarfs. The event also included a doggy parade, more than 100 animals up for adoption, a petting zoo, pony rides and face paintings for the kids.
"I want to expose her to animals," Jennifer Maccone, 35, of Holtsville, said about her 1-year-old daughter Juliana, who was perusing the puppy cages along with her father, Vincent, 36. "If I see something, we can easily be persuaded."