Purina and Walmart sued over dog’s death

Suit says defendants knew treats were harmful to pets

A Chicago-area man is suing Nestle Purina Petcare Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. over the death of his 9-year-old Pomeranian, Cleopatra.

According to the suit, which Dennis Adkins filed on Wednesday, he bought Purina’s Waggin’ Train Yam Good product, which are chicken jerky dog treats made in China, at Walmart and fed them to Cleopatra for three days in mid-March. His complaint says he changed nothing else in the dog’s diet. Cleopatra soon became ill and died of kidney failure on March 26. Adkins’ other Pomeranian, who is also 9 years old, did not eat the treats and did not become ill.

Five years ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about illnesses associated with chicken jerky treats from China. And in November 2011, the FDA had reported an increase in complaints of dog illnesses from the China-made treats.

“Who in their right mind would feed something to an animal that has an FDA warning?” Adkins said in an interview with Thomson Reuters. “I would not buy the product.”

A Purina spokesman told Reuters the company believes the claims in the suit are without merit, and it plans to fight the allegations.

Adkins named Wal-Mart in the suit as well because the world’s largest retailer requires its suppliers to comply with pet food safety regulations. “Wal-Mart is the world's No. 1 retailer," Adkins said in the interview. "If Wal-Mart can't step up to the plate and say the product has a question mark about it, and take it down, then who's going to?”

A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company requires the same high standards from its pet food suppliers as it does from its human food suppliers.

The suit seeks class action status on behalf of all consumers who have bought the treats or similar products, as well as people who have dogs that have eaten the treats and become ill.

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