This is Pebbles. Pebbles is a Yorkie from Los Angeles. About a week ago, the healthy seven year old began throwing up her Nutro dog food and became lethargic. A blood test on Friday confirmed she has renal failure, and she is currently awaiting a biopsy to determine whether she needs dialysis:
"It's just terrible to see her go through this," Pebbles owner, Jeff Kerner, said Wednesday. [...]
"Since getting this dog, I've gone through a divorce, I've moved away, my daughter has gone to college, I've remarried. Through it all, Pebbles has been there. I just pray to God I don't have to put a price on my dog's life."
Officials in LA county have thus far confirmed nine pet deaths resulting from the recall. Local media outlets across the country are reporting on pet deaths and illnesses associated with this recall, yet the national media continues to downplay this story.
My question is this: how many more pets have to die before this story gets the attention it deserves?
This is Zoe. She's a fifteen year old calico from Oregon. In this picture, she is being treated at DoveLewis Animal Hospital while her owner comforts her. She will need to spend several more nights in the hospital. Her condition is improving, but she has permanent kidney damage.
Her vet says the deadly pet food is to blame:
"Like many older cats, Zoe may have had kidney issues before she ate the food," Sarah Naidoo, DoveLewis Internal Medicine Specialist said. "But her signs are not due to her previous kidney problems. Her symptoms were caused by a sudden and severe insult to her kidneys."
This is Smokey and her veterinarian at PenBay Veterinary Associates in Rockport, Maine. Smokey is three months old and is currently being treated for kidney damage incurred after eating Special Kitty brand cat food. Smokey's "big brother", a kitty named Mikey, died of acute renal failure in February, long before the recall was announced. Being young, Smokey's vet is optimistic he'll recover. Mikey's body has been frozen and preserved for testing.
Smokey's vet had this to say:
"Now that we know about this food, we're pretty clear what's been causing it," said Lee on Wednesday. [...]
Barlow is relieved that Smokey's condition was diagnosed in time for treatment. She is worried, however, about other cats and dogs that have consumed, and are still consuming, the batches of tainted food.
"If we can just get word out there," she said.
This is Knuckles. He's from Gladstone, Kansas. His owner took him in for a routine checkup, and the vet suggested routine blood tests as part of the checkup. Knuckles's owner hadn't heard of the pet food recall, and the tests confirmed kidney damage. His owner says:
"It was very scary," Cindy Conn of Gladstone says of how her cat, Knuckles, suffered kidney damage. Knuckles, who had consumed one of the cat foods that has been recalled, now requires IV fluid.
This is Bobby, a Shitzu from Hawaii. He's one of the lucky ones. Bobby's owners found out that they'd fed him some recalled food and immediately took him to the vet when he began throwing up and acting lethargic:
The McPhersons were concerned when they saw the news about pet food being pulled from store shelves.
His owners checked the recall list, "Usually we feed him Pedigree but we got some Priority at the store, Safeway and it's one of the foods listed as being contaminated."
Had the recall been issued when internal MenuFoods testing confirmed contamination, these pets would still be healthy today.
This is just a small sample of reports in local media outlets. If you can stomach it, just go to google news and search for "pet food recall" or "pet deaths". You will find loads of articles from local press outlets.
I sifted through quite a few of those articles while prepping this post. The most heartbreaking part was hearing from distressed pet owners.
"He was drinking a lot of water. He was hiding from us. He just seemed dazed, out of it."
When Cheri Darrow and her family returned from vacation Saturday they couldn't have imagined that three days later their beloved Zima would have to be euthanized.
"I just kept telling him I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I love you. I told him how much we were going to miss him."
Gabrielle, an Abyssinian and tabby mix, was put down Feb. 22 after suffering kidney failure, said the cat's owner, Angelo Simione, who co-owns the View Point Inn in Corbett. [...]
"If I had known that, I would have stopped" giving the cat the suspect food, Simione said. "I wouldn't have given him what may have been the fatal dose."
Becki and Fred Wilson told The (Easton) Star Democrat the dog ate Iams dog food, which is part of the recall of Menu Foods pet products that are responsible for 16 pet deaths.
"What I'd like the FDA to know is that I'm very disappointed to know that it took from Feb. 27 to March 16 before there were any recall notices listed or announced," Becki Wilson said.
Susan Patterson's cat started vomiting, stopped eating and became lethargic about 10 days ago.
A vet later discovered Travis had kidney problems.
Two days ago, Susan said Travis almost died.
"He's my son. He's a part of my family, so it'd be like losing a family member so I couldn't even imagine, what it would be like if I lost him," said Patterson.
Fluffy's owner Cindie Mayers says she feels like a family member is sick. "She's like one of my children. I had her before I had children... she's my little girl," said Mayers. Lucky's owners, Jennifer Lovelace and three year old daughter Katie, come and visit him every day and say they can't wait for him to come home. "We really want to do everything we can for him and hopefully he'll pull through," said Jennifer Lovelace.
"He was a petting cat, a lap cat with a real nice temperment," Cattron said. "We're heartbroken over the loss of our cat, Sam."
"I'm definitely going to call the company," Chambers, of Scarborough, said Wednesday. "I have to let them know they killed my cat, my friend. She was like a child to me, like part of the family."
"I just don't want other people to go through this. This was an awful experience," said Principal Ann Goldbach. [...]
"She loved people, loved kids and reveled in the attention. She was very attached to people," she said. "I always let her go to walk around the room and sometimes I read the book 'Cookie Store Cat' and bring cookies," she said.
"She'd usually be walking around all the kids and she let the kids pet her," said Goldbach. "She would sit there and purr."
Another aspect to this story which has not gotten enough attention is the fate of dogs and cats in animal shelters around the country. Many of those facilities rely on donated food. And in New Hampshire, there have been tragic consequences. Seven cats at the Concord-Merrimack County SPCA shelter have died after eating contaminated food. I'd strongly urge everyone reading this entry to take the time to buy some extra dry dog and cat food this weekend and donate it to your local animal shelters.
To be blunt, none of these companion animals should be sick right now. I can't say it enough: MenuFoods has been grossly negligent. Let's review the timeline, briefly:
February 20: MenuFoods receives it's first complaint about renal failure.
February 27: A week later, they begin internal taste testing. One in six test animals died.
Friday, March 16: Seventeen days later, the company issues the recall on Friday afternoon, the traditional time to release news one wishes to bury.
Another lawsuit was filed this morning against pet food manufacturer MenuFoods and pet food brand Nutro:
NEW YORK (AP) -- Princess, a bull mastiff, ate Nutro food all her short life, according to her owners. She was 2 when she died of kidney failure earlier this month, days before Nutro and some other pet food brands were recalled after being linked to kidney failure in dogs and cats.
''It's a loss that goes beyond belief,'' said Frederick Bobb, of Merrick, N.Y., who buried Princess after she died of kidney failure on March 10.
Bobb's family filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Nutro and manufacturer Menu Foods. The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Nassau County, seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, said Bobb's attorney, Kenneth Mollins.
In addition to the individual lawsuits I've written about, two class action lawsuits were filed today. The first was filed in the US Federal District Court of Wisconsin, Western District. If you reside in Wisconsin, please join the class action suit by clicking here. If you do not reside in Wisconsin, fill out the form located here (Brazoria, I'm looking at you brother). The class action suit specifically targets manufacturers and sellers of the IAMS and Eukanuba brands (PDF press release is here).
The website LawyersAndSettlements.com has some valuable information regarding the grounds for a class action suit:
There are several legal grounds for recovery beyond the retail price of the contaminated pet food. Under the Uniform Commercial Code, which has been adopted by all 50 states, the sale of the pet food is subject to the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for purpose. The sale of contaminated pet food is a breach of those warranties. The Uniform Commercial Code provides for actual and consequential damages as the remedy for breach of implied warranties.
In addition, where there is fraud, the customer may recover punitive damages. [...]
The Uniform Commercial Code is not the only remedy. Other remedies available under state law supplement recovery available under the Uniform Commercial Code. Another ground for recovery is damages for tort, product liability, or negligence
The second class action lawsuit was filed in Canada today:
The Notice of Action, issued today in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, alleges that certain Menu Foods failed to implement quality assurance procedures and failed to adequately test the dog and cat food prior to introducing it into the Canadian market.
It is time to bring down the hammer on these fuckers. Instances like this demonstrate exactly why we need trial lawyers. I'll say it again: For nearly three weeks, MenuFoods knew their products were deadly. There is absolutely no excuse for their gross negligence. Families around the country are losing their beloved companions... and it never had to happen in the first place. This is the big angle that's getting missed in this whole fiasco, and I'm convinced that point has not penetrated the thick skulls of the national media. It's time for them to start giving this issue the serious coverage it deserves, otherwise they too become culpable in these deaths.
If you don't think MenuFoods should be driven from the marketplace, I hope that you're now convinced. Please continue to spread the word about the recall to all your friends and neighbors. By doing so, you could be saving lives.
Previous TexasKaos coverage of the MenuFoods recall:
- PSA: Massive Pet Food Recall - Please Check Your Pet Food!
- More Deaths Expected in MenuFoods Pet Food Recall
- MenuFoods KNEW Their Product Was Deadly; Lawsuit Filed (IMPORTANT UPDATE)
note on all photos: texaskaos does not claim ownership of these pictures. they were all borrowed from the linked articles. texakaos graciously thanks all photographers and reporters who've diligently covered this story