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Pet Owners Sue Over Jerky Treats Dog Deaths

Pet Owners Sue Over Jerky Treats Dog Deaths

Dog owners including the Mawaka family, the owners of Toby, a 6-year-old Boston terrier (pictured above), are suing Nestle Purina and several mega-stores after jerky treats from China sickened and killed their beloved pets.

Recent complaints by pet owners and veterinarians implicated three top brands of chicken jerky treats in causing harm and even death to dogs that consumed the treats. The three jerky treats are Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch, both produced by Nestle Purina, and Milo’s Kitchen Home-style Dog Treats, produced by the Del Monte Corp. The Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch jerky treats were produced and supplied by JOC Great Wall Corp. Ltd. of Nanjing, China.

The original complaint was filed back in April by Dennis Adkins, 57, of Orland Park, Illinois. Adkins believes that his 9-year-old Pomeranian, Cleo, who died in March, was sickened by eating Waggin’ Train “Yam Good” dog jerky treats produced by Nestle Purina Pet Care Co.

The current lawsuit adds to the complaint six pet owners in states from coast to coast who are suing Nestle Purina as well as Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco, which are three big retailers that sell the jerky treats.

Named as a plaintiff in the jerky treat lawsuit is Elizabeth Mawaka, a pastor’s wife from Hartford, Connecticut, who believes her two Boston terriers, Max and Toby, died after eating the suspect chicken jerky treats. Said Philip Mawaka, 69, Elizabeth’s husband:

“Toby was falling over and crying out in pain and we would give him another treat because we thought we were doing something nice for him because he was hurting.”

The other dog owners included in the lawsuit over the jerky treats include the following pet owners from across the country:

Mary Ellis of Ontario, Calif., who claims that the Waggin’ Train jerky treats she bought in February sickened two of her dogs, Buster and Boomer, both 9, and killed Maggie, 12.
Maria Higginbotham, Gig Harbor, Wash., who contends that Chik n’ Biscuit dog treats sickened her two rat terriers, Bandit, 3, and Kali, 8.
Dwayne and Kaiya Holley of Hempstead, Long Island, N.Y., who say that Waggin’ Train Yam Good jerky treats bought from Wal-Mart led to the death from kidney failure of their 5-year-old Yorkshire terrier, Bootsie, in March.
Deborah Cowan, Perryton, Texas, who believes chicken jerky tenders caused kidney damage that sickened her 8-year-old dog, Rowdy.
Cindi Farkas, of Howell, N.J., who says her dog Chanel, 6, was diagnosed with kidney disease after eating one half of a jerky treat each day for three weeks this spring.

The dog owners are frustrated that makers and distributors of the jerky treats have yet to voluntarily recall the suspect products in spite of three federal warnings since 2007 about possible safety issues and nearly 1,000 reports to the FDA of dogs sickened or killed by the jerky treats.

The dog owners also believe that Nestle Purina, Wal-mart, Target, and Costco have violated implied warranties of safety and healthfulness of the jerky treats as well as violated commerce rules governing sale of sound merchandise.

Says Tamara Ward, an FDA spokesperson in an email to MSNBC:

“FDA is working and discussing with industry and retailers how we can mutually collaborate and share data, scientific exchanges, etc. We are committed to solving the problem and Costco is one of several parties interested in determining the root cause of the illnesses.”

Until a resolution is determined, dog owners can follow the example of Rachael Chambers, a California woman who is protesting after her dog died from eating the jerky treats. As Chambers argues:

“What’s killing these dogs is somewhat of a mystery. It really falls on the distributors of these products to do the right thing.”

Del Monte, the makers of one of the jerky treats, released the following statement after being contacted by Central Coast News:

“Milo’s Kitchen considers the safety of pets our highest priority. Pets are family and we are committed to providing safe, healthy and nutritious treats for dogs. Here at Milo’s Kitchen, we are pet parents too and we understand that the information that has been released regarding the FDA warning about chicken jerky made in China is confusing and concerning. To clarify, all of our treats, including our Chicken Jerky variety, are made with nutritious and quality ingredients that meet the standards and specifications of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the Food Drug Administration (FDA). The health and wellness of all animals is very important to us so we have been closely monitoring external testing by the American FDA, the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) and several animal health diagnostic laboratories, none of which has identified any connection between illness and chicken jerky treats. Additionally, we at Milo’s Kitchen have conducted our own extensive internal testing, all of which has shown our Chicken Jerky to be safe for dogs to enjoy. As is the case with all foods and snacks for dogs, we encourage pet parents to read feeding instructions and to feed with confidence as directed. Each scenario is completely independent and is reviewed on a case by case scenario. Out of respect for our pet owners, we do not share the content of the interaction or the number of interactions.”

However, many dog owners are still wary about the safety of jerky treats. I know that I will not be buying any jerky treats for my beloved pets until the cause of these dog deaths is conclusively determined and the problem sorted out.

Will you be buying jerky treats for your dog anytime in the near future?

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Comments

59 Responses to “Pet Owners Sue Over Jerky Treats Dog Deaths”

  1. Dennis Adkins

    hey milo's that's why there's a class action lawsuit filed 6/22/12 in the state of california.keep telling yourself that bs story because we don't want hear it no more.

  2. Marilyn Lucey

    Just one more thing produced in China that proves to be unsafe…in this case deadly. Shocker – not.

  3. Joanne Sudman Muoio

    These packages say they are a United States company but when you read the label it says "Made in China". That's a disgrace! I won't buy food products Made in China. These companies should be ashamed of themselves!

  4. Patrick McGarry

    I can't believe that they haven't been recalled. I've read the warnings on facebook but still see them being sold in WalMart.

  5. Peggy Grant

    I can't believe people are still buying these things from China. Seems like we should be able to take care of the problem by boycotting them and not spending our money on any treats "Made in China".

  6. Jake Politte

    When Milo's first came out I gave one to my dog and she got sick, that was the end of that.
    After all, it was made in China where they have NO RESPECT for dogs as pets, that was not the first time with tainted pet food items from China. Hell, look what they did with baby formula.

  7. Kelly Rousseau

    We the people of the USA are at fault, because we are so stupid and lazy for not fighting for better standards set by the FDA. We should hirepeet companies to run our inspections not our government because they don't care. We the people do.

  8. Julie Marie Figueroa

    After reading 2 warnings within 6 weeks of each other I stopped buying them. I had bought 1 package but later saw made in china on the label and put them up. Saw warnings a little while later and pit them in the trash.

  9. John Sullivan

    Just more sell out companies getting cheap ass labor from China,This is what happens when companies rely on China to make food products.Our companies need to stop moving there for the cheap labor.First it was are electronics and Appple complaining there are copies and now animal food.What do these copanies expect.

  10. Keith Beck

    Why sue the stores that carry the products? Its not they knew they were harmful to the pets. Just go after the manufacturer and parent companies.

  11. Snow Cronan

    can't say we have bought those treats and glad we don't. it's normally begging strips or milkbone or we make our own treats at home. in earlier years dogs didn't get dog food they got scraps and whatever they could find to eat. Ours still get scraps and bones. yeah yeah.. vets tell you not to give bones to dogs and I ask.. so what did they eat before canned dog food? bones…..

  12. Kelly Livers

    because they are unwilling to pull them from their shelves, that is what people find so disgraceful, first the product is known to kill dogs, then they still sell it.

  13. Martha Holmes

    Agreed. I do not buy any food products made in China since the baby food problem a few years ago. I don't trust them. Read your labels, folks.

  14. Dimi Stevenson

    And stop buying the hype of the high end dog foods. For years peopled pooh poohed the fact that I have always fed my dogs (and I have owned and bred dogs over the past 50 years) Pedigree products. During the last rash of canines deaths they were the one of the few companies that had not used Chinese additives. I learned while working with a vet that years ago they had partnered with Waltham which runs an excellent testing lab in the U.K. I have never had an incident with any of my dogs or puppies over the years! Plus most of my dogs lived way beyond their expected life span. Want to give your dog treats? Try carrots, pieces of apple, raw string beans-start in small amounts and let their systems get used to it.
    Don't forget dogs are omnivores. Just no raisins

  15. Ken Bryant

    If you’re looking for a SAFE, REAL ‘American Made’ chicken jerky for dogs, we started making our own Chicken Jerky for our 3 dogs in after we ran across the FDA warning of 2008. It turned into a cottage "Mom & Pop" business and we now sell our TriPom Chews online and in 20 stores in the New England area. Our products are the only homemade, handmade, ‘Maine Made’, ‘American Made’ Chicken Jerky produced from whole, restaurant-quality chicken breasts containing NO Additives and NO Preservatives.

  16. Peg Phillips

    This is exactly why I will never give my pets any treats other than Jerky Direct's 100% Turkey pet snacks. They are MADE IN THE USA (Idaho), USDA inspected, available nationwide and have NEVER had a recall… and pets LOVE them! I joined as a Distributor (for as little as $12.00) so that I could let as many people know about this great product as possible. To learn more, visit http://s6pt.com/petloversnetwork (Sponsor's name is: Peg Phillips, Member ID: jerkylady).

  17. Chris JOnesy Jones

    My dog "Rad" got very sick from Purina One Smartblend – I found many other instances online of Purina products making pets ill or causing death. When I spoke to them over the phone they acted at first as though they were unaware of complaints but when I pushed the issue they admitted they were aware but "there's nothing we can do because we have no way of reaching these customers." which I found to be the lamest copout and displacement of responsibility imaginable. There's almost 500 complaints on consumeraffairs alone – http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/ralston.html – I decided to start a Boycott Purina facebook page and I hope you will join it and share your story, a picture of your pet, or just LIKE it if that's the extent of your commitment. Anything helps. http://facebook.com/boycottpurina

  18. Chris JOnesy Jones

    My dog "Rad" got very sick from Purina One Smartblend – I found many other instances online of Purina products making pets ill or causing death. When I spoke to them over the phone they acted at first as though they were unaware of complaints but when I pushed the issue they admitted they were aware but "there's nothing we can do because we have no way of reaching these customers." which I found to be the lamest copout and displacement of responsibility imaginable. There's almost 500 complaints on consumeraffairs alone – http://www.consumeraffairs.com/pets/ralston.html – I decided to start a Boycott Purina facebook page and I hope you will join it and share your story, a picture of your pet, or just LIKE it if that's the extent of your commitment. Anything helps. http://facebook.com/boycottpurina

  19. Lynne Zalesak

    My dog almost died after eating the Waggin Train chicken jerkies. I wasn't sure it was that which made him sick so I gave it to him again and almost a year later he got sick after eating them again. I have since found one brand (I think the only brand) made in the USA and these are the only chicken jerky I will give him. I have only seen this brand in Petco. So go there if you ar still looking for them for your dog.

  20. Suzy Q Mincic

    Milkbones and Beggin Strips are also linked to many dog illnesses…I would look into that some more if I were you…

  21. Carol Larsen

    I started making my Boston Terrier's treats myself. It takes little to no time. I am sick and tired of companies creating garbage from garbage to feed our beloved fur children. People….I beg of you – stop buying this garbage. There are better and healthier ways. Our fur children give us 100% of their life being to us…don't they deserve the same?

  22. Carol Larsen

    I will post recipes if anyone is interested. The only mistake I made was that the replacement for biscuits were too big – Louie didn't mind, but they were the equivalent of about 4 in one. So I would make those much smaller.

  23. Diana Trout-Kreider

    I have a dog treat cookbook that I bought years ago. I used to make my dog's food from scratch at the beginning of the week and package it up in individual servings. I think it is why I had my Neo for so long. He had very serious genetic problems and I was able to keep him around for 15 months. The vet had told us that when he was a puppy, he could have a stroke at any time and pass.

  24. Anonymous

    Our 11 yo dachshund died in September. We had given her chicken/ turkey jerky as treats for several years. We thought we were giving her something good. Now we're horrified that we were actually poisoning her with them. She exhibited the the classic symptoms of this poisoning. We kept giving them to her almost till the end.
    We would like to join in any effort to stop this product from doing more harm to our 4-legged loved ones. Please send us any info on all petitions and lawsuit coming against these products.

  25. Wendy Luckycharms Hausler Sandoval

    which brand/name of treats did you find to be safe and made in USA? the ones at Petco?
    Lynne Zalesak