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Long IslandNassau

Prospective pet owners smitten at first sight

Miguel Gonzales, and his wife Christine, of Bellmore,

Miguel Gonzales, and his wife Christine, of Bellmore, meet a pitbull mix named George at the Town of Hempstead Animal Shelter. The shelter encouraged people to adopt a cat or dog for free during the shelter's "Tails of Love" event on Feb. 15, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

The Gonzaleses of Bellmore set their eyes on a gray-and-white pit bull terrier mix named George.

"I love him!" Christine Gonzales, 28, who was accompanied by her husband Miguel, 29, said about the 3-month-old puppy with gray eyes as the former stray lay in his kennel at the Hempstead Town Animal Shelter.

The physician assistant and her engineer husband were at the shelter's "Tails of Love" adoption event Saturday in honor of Valentine's Day.

"We're definitely looking to rescue," said Christine Gonzales, whose application and references would have to be reviewed to determine if they could adopt the pup. "Look at how full this place is."

Shelter officials did not say how many adoption applications were submitted, but dozens streamed through the shelter in Wantagh during the five-hour event, looking to adopt from more than 150 dogs and 50 cats. Would-be pet owners saved up to $85 per pet because the shelter waived adoption fees.

"We find that more adoptions happen around the holidays," said assistant shelter director Stacie DaBolt, adding the snowy weather has hampered adoptions. "You should adopt, not shop."

All the pets were screened for behavioral problems, spayed or neutered, and given rabies shots and microchips. Cats were tested for feline AIDS and leukemia.

Julie and Frank Palladino of Westbury were looking for the perfect dog for their 5-year-old triplets. The children played with a year-old female pit bull terrier mix, but they determined the black dog with brown spots was not the right fit.

Frank Palladino said finding a dog is not an impulse decision. "Dogs become part of the family."


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