DORAL (CBSMiami) – December 15th is Save Charlie Day. A day organized to raise awareness about animal adoption and named after what was once the most popular dog name at the time.
“Animal shelters are very crowded, traditionally it is the first place people think of when they no longer want their pets or when they find a stray animal,” said Kathleen Labrada, deputy director of the center. Adoption and Animal Care Services from Miami-Dade Animal Services.
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Currently, the center is at full capacity with around 500 dogs and over 120 cats available in its network.
“Research shows that when a stay dog comes to a shelter, they have a less than a 19% chance of having their owners, and with cats, that drops to 3%,” Labrada said.
She encourages people to ask questions or post on social media before bringing in stray animals, as space is needed for dogs like Duke, a terrier mix.
“So Duke has been here since early June, waiting for his family forever,” said Flora Beal.
At 8 years old, Duke is a bit older dog, his size won’t change much, but many would prefer to have a puppy.
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“He’s kind of a couch potato, he’s a great Netflix buddy,” Beal added.
The momentum for Save Charlie Day began in April, when Miami-Dade County Commissioners passed a resolution to promote pet welfare and prevent animal euthanasia, unless they are seriously ill or seriously injured.
“Everything we do, we use industry standards, to ensure the safety, education, display and adoption of these animals,” said Kionne McGhee, Miami-Dade County Commissioner of district 9.
In Broward County, it’s not so much about being at full capacity, about helping big dogs find new homes.
“So we’re always seeing fewer animals entering the shelter, but the animals that come in tend to stay a bit longer,” said Emily Wood, Broward County director of animal care.
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Wood also believes the pandemic has made adoptions take longer. Both shelters are currently waiving adoption fees; it is hoped that some will come out just to have a look, not only to consider adoption but also foster care.