Pet Food News

Bittersweet Settlement

Grieving pet treat consumers have a settlement for the Chinese jerky treat illnesses and deaths linked to two major importers; Waggin Train (Purina) and Milo’s Kitchen. I would assume this has to be a bittersweet victory to the Plaintiffs.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines bittersweet as: “pleasure alloyed with pain.”

The Chinese jerky treat consumers know pain very well. They have not only suffered through the death or serious illness of their dogs – both emotionally and financially, they have suffered years of dismissal from treat importers and retailers, and have been almost abandoned by regulatory authorities. No importer/manufacturer would accept responsibility of thousands of pet deaths and illnesses and no retailer or regulatory authority would do anything to stop more pets from getting sick or dying. This kind of rejection, on top of the death or illness of their pet, can be devastating.

But there are few more determined than a pet owner scorned. This is what industry most often fails to recognize in the pet food consumer. Harm my family…I’ll never give up. I will go to my grave educating others to the hard lessons a pet treat or food has taught me.

The plaintiffs – the jerky treat consumers – didn’t give up. Despite seven years of FDA investigation never naming the cause of thousands of pet deaths, determined pet owners won a settlement. They won a $6.5 million fund that will compensate dog owners for veterinary costs, burial expenses and health checks for surviving pets. They won quality control requirements from Purina (something I’ve never seen before in a settlement) including ongoing testing of treats manufactured in China. And they won clear labeling requirements – Made in China – from Purina.

The companies did not admit to any wrongdoing.

My congratulations to all pet owners involved in this jerky treat settlement. You fought a very challenging battle against incredible odds. My condolences to all pet owners involved in this jerky treat settlement. How heartbreaking it must be for Waggin Train and Milo’s Kitchen to accept no responsibility in your pet’s death or illness.

Click Here to read the NBC News report on the settlement.

Click Here to read the court papers.

One last thought…To manufacturers or importers of a food or treat that sickens or kills pets, when a settlement is reached, to them it’s over, it’s ‘settled’. But to a pet food/treat consumer, it’s never over. It’s never settled. Waggin Train and Milo’s Kitchen – you might think it’s settled, but…


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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June 2, 2014

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22 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Bittersweet Settlement”

  1. Terry says:

    Excellent summary, as usual!

  2. Ann * says:

    Yes, my little 18 month old dog almost died after eating the jerky treats and the emergency vet bills and ongoing medical bills for life are in the thousands. So we will get a partial payment for some of the expenses, but nothing for the future medical expenses as she requires ongoing daily/monthly medication for the rest of her life.
    I will never buy another Nestle/Purina product and I will encourage others to select another brand. In that regard Susan is right. I won’t forget.
    One of the Truth commenters recently asked in defense of Purina, “When will people wake up and realize that don’t know as much as they think they do?” My answer is – I woke up on Jan 19, 2013 when I realized that a brand that I had so trusted, Nestle Purina, was knowingly responsible for my dog being in emergency care that week and almost dying as a result. No, I won’t forget and I am fully awake now.

    • Johnene says:

      Ann I too have thousands upon thousands of medical expenses for my furkid and monthly med expenses with yearly follow ups also. Nestle/Purina and Made in China are forbidden in my home and have been since Jan 24 2012. The day the music died for my furkid who now lives a shortened/medicated life.
      Ann I feel your pain everyday! Know what you go through everyday! While I prepare his mass of medications to put into his food twice a day.
      Yes I have a survivor but my heart goes out to those who lost their beloved furbabies.

      • Ann * says:

        I am sorry to hear that you also have a furkid survivor of Nestle Purina, but I do appreciate knowing that we are not alone in our ongoing battle against the poisoning by Nestle Purina of our “kids”. I will think of you every day when my kid gets her meds and every month when she gets a painful intermuscular injection – for life.

  3. Amy says:

    While I see that Purina (which owns Waggin Train and Canyon Creek Ranch) has settled, have we heard of anything from Milo’s (Del Monte/ now renamed Big Heart Brands)?

  4. susan says:

    Feed them only what you would eat period . never trust a brands as brands sell very much suffering for the almighty dollar. My pets eat human food for about a dollar a day. Takes longer to prepare but healthier for all.

    • Ann * says:

      The USDA is now allowing our chicken to be sent to China for processing and then returned to the US for us to eat. Also, crops that are GMO are not even allowed to be labeled at present, so eating our food is becoming more dangerous as well.

      • Julie says:

        We also fed our rescue, Baxter, Purina products including Waggin Train jerky thinking we were giving him good from a reputable manufacturer until we also ended up in the Animal Hosp ER where we almost lost him due to pancreatitis. Several weeks of IV’s, meds, close veterinary care, $$$$, and a complete change in diet brought him back to good health. He only eats what I can eat and I happily cook healthy foods for him. Two years later he’s great! Purina & the other pet food giants will never see another penny from me! How can I join the class action suit to maybe recoup some of the expense we’ve incurred?

        Thanks, Susan, for keeping pet lovers informed & all that you do to fight for safe foods for pets!

        • Ann * says:

          Call them right away and see if you can still join the class:
          Brown, Paindiris & Scott
          747 Stafford Avenue
          Bristol, CT 061010
          Fax: (860) 589-5780

  5. Gitta says:

    Well, it is settled. For me this means: nothing, absolutely nothing from these brands. Not now, not ever. There is no trust left. Zero, zilch, nada. I trust these companies about half as far as I could throw them.

    Now, since Purina was just so holier than thou and crying foul all over the internet about a competitor: will they be just as vocal and public about this?

  6. Lisa Parker says:

    Hi, Susan. Thank you for this very important information. I have one problem, though, when your page comes up on my computer, the right hand side of it gets cut off and there is no way for me to move it over to see the comments that have been made. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Or is there some way for me to move the page to read the comments. Sorry for the silly questions, as I am far from computer illiterate, but cannot figure this out. I use Firefox as browser, maybe that is the problem?

    • Susan Thixton says:

      The comments should be under the article (below the article). So if you scroll down the page, you can find them.

  7. Angel says:

    What about Purina’s other jerky treat that was involved in these illnesses and deaths (Canyon Creek Ranch)? Are the owners of these pets not included in this settlement? Are they allowed to seek compensation from this settlement, since it is a Purina product?

    • Peter says:

      The settlement represents consolidation of 3 separate cases which were transferred to Illinois Northern District Court. They were all focused on Waggin Train. In the end, Purina settled but admitted no wrongdoing: although the plaintiffs did have “standing,” the merits of the case were not decided, the litigants settled to avoid uncertainty and costs. You can read between the lines to understand what that means. The problem is that a $6.5M fund is little more than a “traffic ticket” to Nestle Purina, and it is just a cost of doing business, in an arena of pet treats that represents billions of revenue annually for them. For pet parents, their lives were smashed apart… for Purina, its just a bump in the road. To me, THAT is the source of “bittersweet.”

      • Terry says:

        Peter, Do you always post about subjects that you are ignorant in? Did you even read the document (with comprehension)? I can’t bear for these sincere people here to think you have any clue.

        *The plaintiffs DO NOT have standing. Obviously.

        *The Class has NOT been certified, and the probability of it getting certified is VERY slim. And if it was thrown out for that – it’s all over. Please refer to this case :

        *The Class was only certified for the terms of the settlement , and it is clearly written that if the settlement is not agreed to, that certification would be nullified.

        *It was not the consolidation of three cases, I won’t even bother to count how many for you.

        *If the case was “won by the plaintiffs, the dollar amount would be the same. Sadly, Pets are “property” in the eyes of the law, and the award can only be for expenses incurred. Maybe you can take the lead on that legal battle?

        Those are just the highlights. Now, let me ask you: What have you done? Have you written letters? Called your local media? Petitioned the FDA? Even talked to store managers? Anything? Or is your contribution simply complaining and disparaging the efforts of others since it all is hopeless?

        *What exactly should be read “between the lines”? How dare you?

  8. Terry says:

    Canyon Creek and many products are included! Susan, I will send you the list.

  9. Judi Todd says:

    The best way to get at these companies is to do it in the pocketbook the way it will hurt most. STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCTS! And tell everyone you know about the deaths and ilnesses. In fact, print out a copy of the settlement and what the companies DON’T do, and hand it to anyone you see buying their products in the stores. Have the proof right there with you and you will stand a better chance of changing their purchasing habits. This is what I do. FACTS, WEBSITES to check them out, and the TRUTH! Fight back the best way.

  10. Terry says:

    From what I’ve heard, the Milo’s case is still moving forward, and it’s yet to be determined if this ruling will have an effect on that.

  11. Jane Eagle says:

    If I lost a companion to one of the poison pushers, all the money in the world would not reduce my grief. But it would enable me to save a lot of others….

  12. Julia says:

    …And yet still no settlement for those of us whose dogs were affected by other brands’ treats 🙁

    My dog became ill and subsequently died after eating DOGSWELL Happy Hips Chicken Jerky.

    I really don’t give a fig about the money, but I do want ALL the companies who knowingly sold this sh#t to be punished in the hopes that they will hesitate to repeat their obvious misconduct in the future.

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