CORAL SPRINGS, FL – The search for a new family pet brought Rhiannon Oberg and her three children on Saturday to a fire station crowded with mostly rescue dogs and cats looking to be adopted by the right families.

“He’s so cute,” her son Jaiden, 9, said, petting a black puppy. “He’s perfect.”

The family examined the snuggly dog, but eventually passed on him.

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“Today, we’re just looking, learning” and enjoying the animals, Oberg said.

Close to 500 other people did the same at the first “Adopt With A Hero” event organized by the Coral Springs Fire Department and Police Department in partnership with Broward County Animal Care and Adoption and about a dozen other animal-support organizations.

Greeted by dozens of police officers, firefighters, 911 dispatchers, and volunteers, visitors passed through the bays of Fire Station 80 on Coral Springs Drive as they petted, played and smiled at the 20 dogs and cats, most of whom were rescued from abusive homes or found on the streets.

One dog up for adoption was found leashed to an abandoned car and just left there, said Lt. Joe McHugh, who has been a part of the city’s Humane Unit.

By late morning, only one pet – a domestic cat – was adopted, but for organizers, it was a success.

“Even if just one pet was adopted, it was worth doing this,” said Monica Vargas, police community involvement liaison. “The turnout is outstanding and bigger than we expected it to be.”

Part of the event’s goal was to educate the community about taking care of pets.

Broward County is overpopulated by pets, and it’s vital for pet owners to sterilize their animals and implant them with microchips so they are easily identified if they wander off, said Virginia Battel, outreach program coordinator for Broward County Animal Care and Adoption.

“We have to touch base with the community to help resolve these issues,” she said.

The animals up for adoption on Saturday have been sterilized, given all the appropriate shots, and passed a behavioral test, McHugh said.

“All the animals are 100 percent adoptable,” he said, as he motioned to the dog found leashed to the car. “Hopefully he has a second chance with a nice family.

Oberg said she was impressed by how many animal rescue supporters there are in Coral Springs and across Broward County.

“That’s a good thing. It’s really needed,” she said.