By Jaden Jimenez
June 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and Waggin' Train LLC reached an agreement with pet owners in several states to create a $6.5 million fund to compensate dog owners who believe their animals were harmed by eating chicken and other jerky treats sold by the companies.
This agreement comes after years of complaints by pet owners who claim that jerky treats had made their dogs sick and sometimes killed them. The FDA for numerous years warned of the reports of illness in animals that ate chicken, sweet potato and other jerky treat products from China. The FDA has linked the jerky treats, mostly made in China, to more than 1,000 deaths in dogs, more than 4,800 complaints about animal illness and, for the first time, sickness in three people who ate the products.The public demanding action and filed a lawsuit against the companies. Despite the link, no conclusive cause was found.
If approved, the settlement would also require Nestle Purina Pet Care Co. to undertake “enhanced quality assurance measures” regarding pet treats made in China and to modify language on its packaging. In announcing the settlement, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, neither party admitted fault. Nestle Purina and Waggin’ Train officials have consistently said that their treats have not been confirmed to cause any illness in animals and that the products are safe to feed to pets as directed. PetSmart and Petco announced they would no longer sell jerky treats made in China.
“Neither Waggin’ Train, Nestle Purina nor any of the consumers concede that their claims or their defenses were not valid,” lawyers for the parties said in a statement. “All parties entered into the agreement only to bring the litigation to a prompt and certain resolution.”
The terms of the settlement are outlined in a 158-page agreement. Cases settled include Adkins v. Nestle Purina PetCare Co., Gandara v. Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and Matin v. Nestle Purina PetCare Co. The agreement is subject to a final fairness hearing and approval by the court. Consumers will be notified of the settlement and the date of the final hearing.
For a complete look at the settlement, click here.
Pet owners who have a cat or dog who may have consumed a toxic jerky treat may report their findings to the FDA by calling 1-888-Info-FDA.