On Sunday, photographer Katie Sokoler stopped by the first adoption event presented by Adopt NY, a new rescue group dedicated to saving cats and dogs from kill shelters and connecting them with loving homes. Here's her story to go with the adorable photos:

Did you know that over 30,000 shelter animals were euthanized in NY last year? And not because they were terminally ill or considered dangerous. Cats and dogs end up in shelters for many different reasons. Sometimes an owner passes away, lost pets get plucked off the street, puppies are returned after the owners realize they impulsively adopted them for their girl friend as a Christmas gift, children have allergies, and—my personal favorite—a mother who dropped off the family's two year old dog at a kill shelter because he "shit too much."

Once an animal is brought to a kill shelter, they only have a 72 hour holding period until they are destroyed. On average, 20-30 dogs and 20-30 cats (including kittens! ) are euthanized at a kill shelter every morning because there is not enough space.

If this sounds horrible to you, then you're not alone! Adopt NY is a new coalition of NY rescue groups working together to make NY "no kill." This past Sunday Adopt NY held their first adoption event in Tompkins square park. It consisted of over 70 animals that were rescued from city shelter's euthanasia lists. By the end of the day they had over 30 applications to adopt.

The organization plans to hold adoption events every few months in different communities across the city. The next event will be in September at McCarren Park. Many people tend to have a misconception that shelter animals are bad pets that nobody wants. This is why Adopt NY wants to bring the animals out of the shelters and into the communities, so that people can see for themselves that these are normal, sweet animals that just want a home. I adopted my cat from a kill shelter and look at him now: winner of the cutest cat contest in the Gothamist office!

And speaking of lost pets, PETA is urging everyone to take extra precautions to keep their pets safe and inside during July 4th fireworks displays. Here's their warning:

After fireworks displays, animal shelters nationwide report an increase in the number of lost companion animals. When animals hear the cracks and booms in the sky on the Fourth of July, many of them panic and jump over fences or break chains. Some even jump through glass windows in order to get away from the terrifying sounds.

Some animals are later reunited with their families, but others are never found. Dogs and other animals often arrive at animal shelters disoriented and/or with injuries such as bloody paws from running frantically in search of safety, open wounds from breaking through fences, etc. Some animals are hit and wounded or killed by cars as they flee.

PETA encourages everyone to take the following precautions in order to ensure the comfort and safety of their animal companions:

  • Keep cats and dogs inside during fireworks displays and, if possible, stay with your pets.
  • Leave your animals at home during the celebrations—never take them with you to watch fireworks displays!
  • Never leave animals tethered or chained outside. They can hang themselves if they leap over a fence while trying to run from the noise.
  • Close your windows and curtains. Turn on a radio that's tuned to a classical-music station or turn on the TV and air conditioning to help drown out the sound of the fireworks.
  • Make sure that your animal companion is microchipped and is wearing a collar or a harness with an up-to-date identification tag—just in case.