DORAL (CBSMiami) – December 15 is Save Charlie Day. A day held to raise awareness for animal adoption and named after what once was the most popular dog name in time.

“Animal shelters are very crowded it’s traditionally the first place people think of when they no longer want their pet or when they find a stray pet,” Miami-Dade Animal Services Pet Adoption and Protection Center Assistant Director Kathleen Labrada said.

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Currently, the center is at capacity with about 500 dogs and over 120 cats available in its network.

“Research shows that when a stay dog comes to a shelter it has a less than 19% chance of its owners, and with cats, that decreases to 3%,” Labrada said.

She’s encouraging people to ask around or post on social media before bringing in stray animals, because space is needed for dogs like Duke, a terrier mix.

“So Duke here has been here since early June waiting for his forever family,” Flora Beal said.

At 8 years old, Duke is a slightly older dog, his size won’t change much, but many would rather get a puppy.

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“He’s kind of a couch potato, he’s a great Netflix buddy,” Beal added.

The impetus for Save Charlie Day started back in April, when Miami-Dade County Commissioners passed a resolution to promote pet welfare and prevent euthanization of animals, unless they were severely sick, or gravely injured.

“Everything we’re doing we’re using the industry standards, to ensure the safety, education, exposure and the adoption for these animals,” said Kionne McGhee, Miami-Dade County Commissioner of District 9.

In Broward County, the problem isn’t so much about being at capacity as it is, helping bigger dogs find a new home.

“So we are still seeing fewer animals come in to the shelter but the animals that do come in are tending to stay a little bit longer,” Broward County Animal Care Director Emily Wood said.

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Wood also thinks the pandemic has made adoptions take longer. Both shelters are currently waiving adoption fees; it’s hoped that some may come out simply to have a look, not just to consider adoption but also, fostering.

Jacqueline Quynh