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Shylo the Lab Headed for a Necropsy as CCSO Investigates His Murder

Sunny Patrice Stalbird's 19-year-old son Phoenix helped recover Shylo's body on Tuesday.

The body of Shylo, the 14-year-old yellow lab found floating in Canyon Lake Tuesday with his feet hog-tied to a metal post attached to a cement block, is headed to Texas A&M University for a necropsy.

Comal County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) is leading the investigation into the dog’s death and ordered the necropsy, Public Information Officer Jennifer Smith said.

Shylo’s owner, Canyon Lake animal-rights activist Sunni Patrice Stalbird, said Texas Rangers also are on the case and that CCSO Det. Matt Laiberte is reviewing video taken from security cameras at Canyon Lakeview Resort near Boat Ramp #7, where her dog’s body was discovered.

Shylo loved swimming in the water in the little cove, and members of the public placed 25 crosses in the ground there as a show of public support in the days following his discovery.

Those crosses have since been removed, she said, another strange twist in what is now a deepening mystery in Canyon Lake.

Stalbird said she hopes the intense media focus on Shylo’s death will shed light on the plight of many other dogs in Canyon Lake who live outside year-round in dire circumstances, chained in backyards without food, water or access to basic veterinary care.

Since 2007, she’s made it her life’s mission to fight animal abuse and neglect which she says is prevalent in the area. She moderates the I see, Dogs That deserve better, in Comal County Facebook page.

“My dog had to die for it and this is what it’s taken to get all the social media involved,” she said. “His death is going to be a blessing in the end. Wake up, Canyon Lake.”

“…People out here in our community don’t realize that animal cruelty and neglect exists because people stay in their little bubble, and if they hear it or see it they just automatically assume that the law is going to take care of it, but that’s where everybody is wrong,” she said.

On Monday, Stalbird let her dogs outside in the morning to do their business and laid back down to sleep, a normal routine for both her and the dogs.

“I woke up to neighbors calling me and saying my dogs got out of the gate,” she said.

Shylo, the weakest and oldest of the trio, did not come home.

At 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, kayakers spotted him bobbing in the water in the cove where he loved to swim.

Leeanne “Doglady” Nelson, a fellow animal-rights activist and founder of Comal County Lost and Found Dogs Facebook page, said she’s helped Stalbird rescue and rehome hundreds of dogs over the years.

“Sunni has helped save hundreds of dogs,” she said. “Yet these people still continue to get more animals just to neglect them. Sunni gives her all. But what are we going to do? Turn a blind eye? The dogs didn’t ask for this miserable existence.”

“Comal County needs more than Animal Control. It needs a 24/7 tip line and a separate department to physically investigate reports of abuse and neglect. These officers also need to have the power to act upon the reports, not just leave Post It notes on front doors. We also need another shelter. Comal County has doubled the population in the last 10 years. Our three shelters cannot cope with the constant intake of animals.”

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  1. Howard S. September 12, 2021

    I’m sorry to read of the loss of your beloved Shylo

  2. Corinna September 11, 2021

    I’m sorry to read about SHYLO death. But there is a lot of cruelty in this world when it comes to animals. I am a neonatal veternarian at our zoo and when I read articles like yours. It really makes me mad. I been a animal lover since I was a little girl. I had all kinds of animals and I never hurt mine. I hope you find the ones that did this to that poor dog Shylo. I have a 5 mi th old Siberian Husky and her name is SHYLOW too. Good luck to you in finding her murderer.


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