Residents want HOA to remove plants that have sickened several dogs and killed one

Candera residents say Boxwoods are to blame

SAN MARCOS, Calif. - Some residents in San Marcos want their home owners association to step up after plants they chose to landscape with poisoned several dogs and even killed one.

"There are so many of them … 1,300 plants all over our community." said Jenna Harris.  

Jenna and Robert Harris' dog Tucker died just months after they moved into the Candera development.

Jenna Harris says the HOA planted 1,300 Boxwood plants to deter deer from the property. She said the HOA knowingly planted poisonous shrubs they knew were toxic to household pets.

"It was advertised as a pet-friendly community," said Jenna Harris. "We are dog people. We don't have kids, but we have dogs and that's why we moved here."

They are not the only ones. Robert Harris says the dogs of at least seven families at Candera have become sick after coming into contact with the plants.

"We couldn't figure it out until the other owners came forward," he said. "Then we knew it was environmental. They never even told any of us that the plants were toxic."

Ronnie Leos and Cathy Bono's dog Fred has been sick for the last nine months. After hundreds of dollars in veterinarian visits, the couple was told the dog was sick from exposure to Boxwood plants.

"We went to several vets who all agreed Fred was sick from the Boxwoods," said Bono.

Leos said, "He had intestinal related problems where he couldn't go to the bathroom. He struggled. It was very sad to see because there's nothing you can do for him. I'm just upset with our HOA board because there was just a lack of care, a lack of concern for the new residents who live here and for the animals that we care about."

The HOA board sent letters to Jenna and Robert Harris and the other couples who complained. They acknowledge the plants are toxic and then blamed residents for being negligent and liable for any damages to the shrubs.

"It's terrible," said Jenna Harris. "My dog died and they're saying it's our fault."

A 10News crew waited several hours Wednesday night to speak to the HOA board but they refused to let us in and refused to speak to us.

 After the meeting, Jenna Harris said the HOA board told residents they are not interested in replacing the plants, but after receiving several letters and calls from 10News, they will hire an insurance adjustor to research the plants and discuss the issue on Oct. 25.

"My dog died and it was something that didn't have to happen. It was totally preventable. At this point, I just want them to do the right thing," said Jenna Harris, who is considering legal action.

Robert Harris added, "Just take the plants out. That's what we want. Remove them."

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