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Animal Shelter Likely to Stay Open

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Castaic Animal Shelter appears to have weathered a budget crisis that threatened to close the facility.

Revisions proposed Monday for Los Angeles County’s 1994-95 budget would keep the facility operating, providing $191,000 from the $57.3-billion financial plan to maintain staffing levels at the shelter.

Last month, closure of the Castaic Animal Shelter was suggested as one of the cutbacks needed in the face of a $476.8-million county shortfall.

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The new revisions, outlined in a report by the Chief Administrative Office, adjusts the shortfall to $300 million and avoids cuts to county animal shelters.

About 6,500 animals passed through the Castaic shelter last year. The nearest similar facility is 60 miles away, in Lancaster.

Although the Castaic Animal Shelter serves about 250,000 residents in a 250-square-mile area in northern Los Angeles County, it is the smallest of the county’s six animal shelters and, therefore, is seen as the most vulnerable to budget cuts.

In the wake of the suggested closure, animal activists gathered petition signatures and contacted county officials.

“If you don’t have the animal shelter, the problems don’t go away,” said Laurene Weste, a member of the Los Angeles County Animal Foundation.

Shelter supporters say they are pleased with the budget revisions but will wait and see what the final draft looks like before celebrating.

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