Crystyl Ranch & Montecito Dog Owners On Alert After Possible Poisoning

March 12, 2014 18:22 pm · 52 comments

Dog owners in the area of the Crystyl Ranch & Montecito neighborhoods (Concord), you’re going to want to read this.

We have received several reports of two dogs who died recently after going for a walk in the Crystyl Ranch area.

Both messages were posted on the Nextdoor neighborhood website.

Message one:

On Sunday, my husband took our dog (a healthy, 2 year old golden retriever) to the grassy field to play. A little later, after coming in from our backyard, his breathing was a bit labored and his rear legs were bothering him. We thought he might have pulled a muscle while running and playing. A little while later, it was clear that something was not right. My husband took him to the emergency vet to find out that he was poisoned. His rear legs were paralyzed and there was very little hope that he would walk again, or make it through the night. He passed away a short while later.

We will never know if he ate something poisonous or if he was bitten by a venomous critter. There was no obvious swelling or bite site so we think it was something he ingested. Whether it was something in the grassy common area or something that got into our backyard, we will never know exactly what caused our dog’s death.

I wanted to share this to alert the many dog lovers in our community. I hope nobody else has to go through this.

Message two:

Thank you for posting this. Although my family lives in Montecito, we had an experience with our dog over the weekend that has similarities to yours.

I took our dog to the vet for Bordetella and Distemper vaccinations last Thursday lunchtime, and nothing out of the ordinary occurred. At 6pm that evening I took him for a walk around Montecito, including a stretch along Crystyl Ranch Rd. His back legs slipped off the curb at one point and I thought nothing of it. 3 hours later he had real trouble standing on his back legs. By the next morning he couldn’t support himself on his back legs at all. The vets x-rayed him and suspected a ruptured disc – 24 hours after that he had no feeling in his back legs whatsoever and we made the difficult decision to put him down.

We really don’t know the cause – it could have been a reaction to the vaccinations, it could have been something he ate on the walk (never occurred to me). He was in no pain – very strange. 

So sad to hear about the dogs.

Thanks to those who sent the notes.

Steve March 12, 2014 at 6:41 PM

Wild mushrooms?

The cause March 12, 2014 at 7:10 PM

can be determined with toxicology tests.
They are expensive but can give the exact
poison or toxin involved if any, and a necropsy,
can determine a bite.
I love dogs and hate to hear of the possibility
of a poisoner around. But there are people that
consider Dogs and cats as they do rats or mice,
no more than pests.

firefighters daughter March 12, 2014 at 7:23 PM

I am SOO sorry for both of your losses. Dogs are our best friends. I hope that they find these sick people and prosecute to the fullest, although it will never be enough.

another just me March 12, 2014 at 7:26 PM

my heart goes out to both families, this is very sad

Mimi (original) March 12, 2014 at 7:36 PM

My heart goes out to both families….my pets are are my joy, love, and entertainment.

Steve March 12, 2014 at 8:10 PM

There was a guy in SF poisoning dogs with meatballs a few weeks ago.

??? March 12, 2014 at 8:14 PM


Shelly March 12, 2014 at 8:16 PM

So sorry for the loss of these loving family members.

P. H. Neighbor March 12, 2014 at 8:21 PM

Soooo, so sorry for your beloved dogs passing.

Thank you very much for writing to Claycord.

Anon March 12, 2014 at 8:30 PM

Sometimes I wonder if those who own aggressive dogs, are able to write as if they weren’t mean, angry, dog owners.

AnotherAnon---another vote for mushrooms March 12, 2014 at 8:46 PM

I’ve copied only a portion of the article; read the entire article thru the link provided.

Symptoms vary greatly depending on the type of mushroom ingested. Category A mushrooms, for example, are the most toxic and cause the destruction of cells, especially liver and kidney cells. Category B and C mushrooms, meanwhile, affect nervous system, and category D mushrooms cause gastrointestinal irritation. The following are some of the more common symptoms associated with mushroom poisoning:
Abdominal pain
>>>>>Weakness<<<<<<>>>>Uncoordinated movements<<<<<<
Excessive drooling (ptyalism)

wolfman March 12, 2014 at 8:49 PM

Might be coyote bait. Be careful in those hills, there is lots of bad stuff at Silver Sands.

DuckyManda March 12, 2014 at 8:50 PM

I am so sorry to hear about this! We just adopted a dog recently, and we do live near that area. I might stop the walks with our new addition for now. So sorry for the losses of these two dog parents.

Just saying March 12, 2014 at 8:51 PM

Very sad, but I do know that the rattle snake hatch is underway, and the small ones are out and about.

Dorothy March 12, 2014 at 8:53 PM

The SF dog poisoner might have moved to this side of the bay or there may be copycat starting up over here.

People, keep a close eye on your pets to make sure they don’t nibble at something bad.

RANDOM TASK March 12, 2014 at 8:53 PM

So sorry for your loss. Cant even imagine. We live in Montecito too and have a dog who is our everything. Our hearts go out to both of you

Momo March 12, 2014 at 9:04 PM

What exactly are you trying to say? You totally lost me with that comment.

Gary March 12, 2014 at 9:10 PM

While I don’t doubt that a poisoning may have occurred, proceed with caution. Labs and retrievers can develop a fever from about 20 causes. One is called ‘the fever of the unknown”. My lab had a fever of 106.6 which should have killed him. He lost all mobility of his back legs and had limited mobility of the fronts. Multiple vets could not figure it out but an IV to his neck saved his life. This happened twice and we assumed poisoning but it happened in different counties and as a release dog from Canine Companions he is well behaved. He is now 14 years old , a little slower. But healthy. If you have a dog with a very high fever their back legs can become immobile. Make sure you vet gets your dog on an IV immediately to knock down the fever.

Amy March 12, 2014 at 9:16 PM

There are SICKOS out there. Do people REALLY put out poison for Coyotes? That’s so cruel!

Khloe March 12, 2014 at 9:25 PM

I’m so sorry that you lost your babies. There is a special place In hell for people who purposely harm innocent animals. My heart aches for both of you.

catwoman March 12, 2014 at 9:35 PM

There’s always a breakthrough of different baits-as dog owners ourselves, this is truly heart felt. So sorry for your loss.

Anon March 12, 2014 at 10:44 PM


No, I didn’t loose you. You know exactly what I’m trying to say.

Tennis Reid March 12, 2014 at 10:50 PM

I live below crystal ranch off rollinwoods and have a dog that lost the use of his back legs several months ago for no apparent reason. We could not find a cause but with these other episodes I wonder if these are all related in some way.

Momo March 12, 2014 at 11:03 PM

Call me dense but no I have no idea what you are saying.

Remember Earl? March 12, 2014 at 11:16 PM

This reminded me of that sick-o named Earl who was lobbing poison meatballs over his fence for the neighbor’s dog(s) to eat. Seems to me he lived on Via Doble where the recent home intrusion took place (where Mark DeSaulnier lives). Wonder what ever happened to him?

My daughter worked at the time at Monte Vista Animal Hospital where at least one of the victim dogs was brought, in agony. A poisoning is a horrifying way to go.

I hope we don’t have another person like this in our midst.

Thanks so much for sharing, Mayor, as my husband walks our dog in that area each morning.

And to the 2 families missing your dogs, my heart goes out to you!

Grassy Field Area? March 12, 2014 at 11:20 PM

I’m wondering if the first story that talks about the grassy field area is referring to the soccer fields near the corner of Pine Hollow Rd and Ygnacio Valley Rd? I’d really like to know as my husband walks our dog there on a regular basis.

foxylady March 13, 2014 at 12:23 AM

Folks keep your dogs leashed and don’t let them eat anything off the ground. A gentle leader is a great way to direct your dogs face while walking if you feel you have little or no contol over your pets eating habits. They are no more expensive than a regular leash so there is no excuse to not be in control of your pet while out.

Placing coyote bait in public areas is illegal. Anybody who sees or is made aware of such an act should notify the police. It is the right thing to do.

Having said that I wouldn’t rule out wild mushrooms. The conditions are ripe for wild mushroom growth. It seems many dogs ( as well as people) take a fancy to them. Although we really needed the rain, (and still need more of it) its unfortunate when we get so much moisture followed by nice sun because of the fungus.

Rest in peace sweat doggies.

foxylady March 13, 2014 at 12:24 AM

oops….that is Sweet (not sweat)

Crystyl Ranch Resident March 13, 2014 at 2:28 AM

The grassy field referenced is in the Crystyl Ranch rec center.

For what it’s worth, it was discussed that it might be some sort of rodent poision that the dogs came in contact with which also causes similar symptoms to what happened to these dogs. This could be on the rec center lawn or a resident’s lawn (more likely). I doubt it’s intentional poisioning but I guess it can’t be ruled out.

It doesn’t appear to be mushrooms based on symptoms and the owners were with the dogs and didn’t witness any rattlesnakes, so that’s unlikely too.

Sad March 13, 2014 at 6:43 AM

I’m very sorry for the loss of these two beloved family members. Very sad.

futbllwmn March 13, 2014 at 7:14 AM

Don’t let your dogs off-leash. If you must let them run free… go to a dog park. Better safe than sorry.

JJ2 March 13, 2014 at 7:40 AM

Our condolences to both families. We were deeply saddened at the news about Thor, and are now quite alarmed about hearing of the second dog.

Susan March 13, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Please be careful folks, I could name a list of at least 100 dogs that ate something and died in Claycord. Please be wary of the poisons that are out there.

FB March 13, 2014 at 9:43 AM

When I lived at Crystyl Ranch, I used to take my dogs several times a week to the grassy area of the Crystyl Ranch clubhouse, at least when it was empty and not in use by other people. It is a locked area requiring a key to access. It was a safe area for them to play, away from the heavy auto traffic of Crystyl Ranch, doesn’t have the dangers of a crowded dog park, and I never saw any rattlesnakes, or poison, and I don’t think the management would set out poison. A couple of years ago, one of our neighbors on Rolling Woods had carelessly put out green-colored bait blocks for rodent control and we saw them lying around in plain sight in their front hillside yard. One of my dogs, at a previous residence, in another city, had gotten a hold of one of some bait blocks I had put out to eliminate a rat problem. I thought I had placed it safely out of reach, when the dogs weren’t looking, but a rat, squirrel, etc. may have moved it. I saw her eating it, and took her to a vet ASAP. Cost about $400 for treatment but she was okay. I’m not sure if the rodent baits produce symptoms in dogs so quickly. I thought it could take 2-3 weeks, and by then internal damage has been done and it is too late. But I’m not a vet. Starting in July, the rodent baits, or some of them, will be restricted use and not for sale to the general public. Sorry to hear about the poisoned dogs. We dog lovers really feel for them.

betty March 13, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Round-Up– why is that stuff legal?

RK March 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

So, sad, condolences to both dog owners. There are lots of new mushroom growth everywhere this week, watch out most of them are poisonous, I am very careful with my dog running around off-leash, tasting new weeds, mushrooms, also watch for tick bites and ticks, I hope all the dog owners are staying safe!

anonanonagain March 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Very sad for those dog owners. Tragic indeed.
If it is someone who is poisoning the wildlife for the sake of their ranch or home then they should be made to eat what they have put out there!!! We live in an amazingly beautiful place that has wildlife. We live amongst nature and should respect nature. If people keep poisoning animals, the beautiful species that live amongst us will be no more for our children to see……

They should remove the word “kind” from the word Mankind…….

SF CityGirl March 13, 2014 at 10:25 AM

What a terrible loss. 🙁 thanks for the heads up pet owners.

JET March 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

As someone who had my beloved dog die from poisoning (by a neighbor) – I can sympathize with how you are feeling right now. So, so sad. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

uh.... hey ANON March 13, 2014 at 10:29 AM

something your not telling us like what you used in the chemicals that killed these dogs? Sounds like a sicko to me and leaving a ransom note here on Claycord… Maybe I’ll have my police friend trace your e-mail…

anon March 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM

@24 , #10 is a troll. I’m glad you didnt understand and it was lost on you. that’s a great comeback. stay lost.

fyi; i dont think this is the problem but thought this is the place to bring it up. Seizures; one cause of seizures in dogs can be mold on walnuts that they find. there’s a med for that.

rat poison…when people use that rat poison that the rats eat, they then go outside looking for water and are in a dying state, so if they dog catches the rat….another safer rat/gopher poison is mixing plaster of paris w/ oatmeal. i think just dry oatmeal, put it out at night only. bob tannem the garden guy talks about this.

Bishop Estates March 13, 2014 at 10:37 AM

I am so sorry for the loss of your family members, poor babies.

I sincerely hope that it is a snake and not a human “snake” poisoning innocent animals.

Incognito March 13, 2014 at 10:48 AM

It’s important to realize and remember there are a lot of things which are poisonous to our animals. I’d consider this before I would consider someone poisoning my dog, especially in an open field area. A friend of mine had cattle die from eating Oleander branches, and another lose a dog from eating snail bait pellets which was left out in their own back yard. And, let’s face it, dogs like to chew and eat just about everything which comes across their path.

skippy March 13, 2014 at 3:05 PM

People-don’t put poison out, period. Rat, gopher, snail, etc. Something else will eat it by mistake or eat the critter who ate the poison and be sickened or die. Take the time to figure out how to rid your yard of pests without poison. Thanks.

Amy March 13, 2014 at 5:04 PM

The dog up for adoption in the picture above from Contra Cost Animal Services in Martinez is ADORABLE! I hope someone adopts her.

Rats March 13, 2014 at 5:10 PM

If you need to trap rats, get the humane traps. Poison can kill too many other things like wildlife, dogs, kids. Be smart about what you use out there. Poisons should be outlawed. Poisoning creatures is a cruel thing to do. I wish we humans would be more considerate of the other creatures we “share” this planet with.

Shelley March 13, 2014 at 5:26 PM

This is sad. All of the adoptable animals are adorable, some more than others.

anon March 13, 2014 at 6:31 PM

we are hiking there now and just saw the news guy. any new info? it does not sound like poisoning, normally poisoned dogs produce bloody vomit and diarrhea.

KMS March 13, 2014 at 9:04 PM

My heart is with both families. Terrible loss.

Mocake March 14, 2014 at 1:46 AM

WTF… people are Screwed up SERIOUSLY THO… what if a toddler eats something like that off the ground at a park..i’d be super depressed if someone tried to kill my dog…My heart goes out to the people who have lost their dogs. Hope we find out what these people are/or whatever this is too many stories of people killing off dogs..DA FUQ..

valiii March 14, 2014 at 6:43 PM

So sorry about the 2 dogs. Very scary to think there could be rodent poison or similar stuff out there. My friend’s dog had a severe reaction after walking on grass that had been treated with RoundUp. Luckily, he lived, but he was afraid of the grass for a long time after that. Please, don’t use RoundUp. It is poisonous. There are a lot better ways to get rid of weeds.
By the way, many so-called “weeds” are food for butterflies and hummingbirds.

anon March 14, 2014 at 8:22 PM

Very sad indeed. My heartfelt prayers are with these two dogs and their owners.

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