County hopes to “Clear the Shelters” at annual event

There is no better time than this Saturday, Aug. 18, to choose a new pet as both Ventura County Animal Shelters will take part in the annual Clear the Shelters pet adoption campaign.

The event, originally launched by NBC4 Southern California, KNBC and Telemundo 52 Los Angeles / KVEA, allows pet adoptions free of adoption fees (save for a county license fee) at both shelters operated by the Ventura County Animal Services, in Simi Valley (670 W. Los Angeles Ave.) and Camarillo (600 Aviation Drive).

“This event couldn’t happen at a better time,” said Tara Diller, director of Ventura County Animal Services. “VCAS is bursting at the seams with hundreds of amazing pets, waiting to join your families.”

Food trucks and dog classes will run in tandem with the day’s events. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at both locations. For more information, visit www.vcas.us.

County supervisors urge Casitas Water District to declare drought

After years of drought, Lake Casitas sits at one-third full, which could spell trouble for the 60,000 or so customers of the Casitas Municipal Water District. At a meeting of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Aug. 7, supervisors urged the Water District to declare a drought emergency to warn residents of the seriousness of the situation.

Supervisor Steve Bennet, whose district includes the city of Ojai, Upper Ojai, the Ventura River valley area, the western part of the city of Ventura and other unincorporated areas served by the Casitas Municipal Water District, said in a letter to his colleagues that while customers have reduced water consumption by 40 percent, it will be many years and millions of dollars until other water options become available as Lake Casitas threatens to run dry.

The Board unanimously voted in favor of the declaration, and later the same evening, the Ojai City Council followed suit, voting to urge the District to declare a drought emergency.

Bennett says in his letter that, should Lake Casitas supply drop below 30 percent, it would trigger a stage 4 water crisis, and customers would be forced to reduce consumption by a further 10 percent.

“A declaration of emergency alerts the public that the district will be entering a stage 4 drought condition soon so that farmers, ranchers and residents can all plan accordingly,” wrote Bennett. “It is critical that those who rely on CMWD water realize the dire nature of this drought and have the opportunity to take any steps they possibly can to conserve further and stretch the length of time water is available.”

Santa Paula animal rescue launches fundraiser to cover medical expenses

Caring for animals as a no-kill shelter is a costly endeavor, and look no further than the Canine Adoption and Rescue League in Santa Paula for evidence of such. CARL has launched a fundraiser in hopes of covering costs associated with medical expenses for rescue animals and is seeking donations.

CARL opened in 1996 as a nonprofit, all-breed, no-kill animal shelter serving dogs that have been abandoned, abused or relinquished. The shelter operates at full capacity year-round.

In a release to its supporters, CARL announced that its medical expenses for the last year alone totaled $105,500 and is its “largest ongoing expense.”

“The little things add up and before you know it,” said Marsha Moreland, part of CARL’s community outreach team. Moreland says that most of the shelter’s expenses come from veterinary care and, in particular, the cost to spay and neuter animals, most of whom come from the Ventura County Animal Shelter. “If we don’t have the money to pay for veterinary costs for our dogs, then we’re not able to pull more dogs from VCAS and there’s more euthanasia in the county.”

For more information on CARL and how to donate, visit www.carldogs.org.

Oxnard Housing Director resigns

Arturo Casillas has resigned from his position as Oxnard’s housing director, effective Sept. 28.

Casillas began as the city’s housing director in August of 2015, but has worked with the city since 1980 with the Housing Department. In his resignation letter sent to Interim Assistant City Manager Ashley Golden, Casillas notes that he has “resigned three times” and has been “reinstated twice and hired back once.”

Casillas says that he has enjoyed working with the community and the City Council to “provide services to the residents of Oxnard” and that he has enjoyed working with city staff, but also notes that former City Manager Greg Nyhoff’s “style of leadership was a disappointment” to him.