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  1. Mike

    Susan,
    If I were you, I would look into suing them! At the very least, consult with a copyright lawyer.
    You don’t deserve this, and they should not get away with it.
    Best to you!

  2. Laura

    Is “Truth about Pet Food” copyrighted? If it isn’t, you should nab it ASAP. I’m not sure if you can sue for what others are already doing with the name, but at least it will be protected against future violations and show consumers who the fakes are.

  3. Lynn

    Susan, apply for a trademark. It can be done online at http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/

    All you have to do is show that you have been using it for years before the pet food companies started it. Once you have it, you can force the pet food companies to stop using it or sue them for trademark infringement.

  4. Regina

    Well, followers of this site that is run by Susan will know that these fake “truth” seminars are NOT in any way connected to the REAL Truth!!!!

    But for someone who is not yet knowledgeable about the misleading marketing tactics of the big name pet food (uh, feed) conglomerates, this will just further delay healthier feeding of their furry family members.

    If one of these fake-truth seminars showed up in my area, I’d go and just start asking questions. I’d probably get thrown out, but maybe it would give others the idea to start questioning also.

  5. Elizabeth McMahon

    Susan, I agree. Trademark immediately.

    Do you actually hold seminars?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Yes on seminars – several years ago I spoke to veterinary students at Western University in Pomona CA (it was so cool – and pet owners donated to get me there!) – but mostly here in Florida.

  6. Susan

    I agree with Lynn, registering the name as a trademark is your best protection – and the consumers’ best protection from being duped by sneaky manufacturers and lobbyists. I’m not sure, but you might also be able to get a court decision on the basis of long usage even before the name is registered.

  7. Steve

    Thanks for spreading the word on this. It is truly reprehensible. And, nice that you show the flier, as it contains an email address we should all take the time to write to so we can let them know what we think about this. Interesting they claim they’ll show how to recognize marketing tricks. Wonder if that includes sponsoring and hosting a seminar promoting their products and bashing others without letting the participants know in advance that it’s a sponsored commercial and not really an impartial seminar?

  8. Lisa Parker

    I agree that they’re wrong about stealing what Susan has worked tirelessly to do. But Science Diet people “teaching” truth about pet food Seminars. That’s JUST NOT FUNNY. What an absolute joke. Like they would know ANYTHING about what should be in pet food. O M G. THANK YOU, Susan, and for whoever told you for telling us about these. If there is one near me, I will attend and be an outspoken petsumer and will probably be thrown out, but it will be my pleasure. Is there a way we can find out where they are so we CAN attend and tell people the REAL truth?

  9. Myndi

    On one hand though, its awesome that they’re threatened enough by you to go through all this trouble!

  10. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

    Susan, you’re always ‘on the job’ and I salute you. I reposted your original post on Google+. Best wishes and keep up the good fight.

  11. Regina

    Just for kicks, I Googled the name of the person who designed the flyer. She works at an animal clinic in Colorado that sells Science Diet products.

    1. Regina

      I left a message via the website of the animal clinic that the flyer designer works for. Just letting them know that I saw through the propaganda. We’ll see if they respond to me.

  12. Pat P.

    Just another reason for me to hate Science Diet. Unfortunately, so many vets sell this junk, aggressively, to ignorant consumers, as well as, the big box stores. Then, of course, they push it in veterinary schools, support the schools and teach there, too.
    Most people, have no idea how aggressively it is marketed and believe it is good food, thanks to vets.
    I hope that there is something you can do to stop this deception, ASAP.
    As others have recommended, getting a lawyer, suing, trademarking, whatever is necessary to protect your name, immediately, and in the process expose this company for their unethical practices.

    1. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

      The reason so many ‘pet owners’ (a term I use to differentiate from ‘animal caregivers’) buy this junk is the word “Science” in the brand name that strongly suggests ‘quality by science’ that is their corporate smoking-mirror mantra.

  13. Nancy J. Bohan

    Susan,
    Thank you for all of your hard work through the years. I have some very healthy pets and piece of mind knowing that the foods I give my pets is of the best quality.
    I agree with the responses of others…you should contact a copyright attorney. At the very least a cease and desist order may be served to those using your name.
    It appears that these large businesses are finding you threatening!
    Keep up the good works and thank you for fighting the good fight!

  14. Roger Daniel

    Its posts like this that shock me, and make me think we need a Snopes.com for bloggers to discredit intentionally fabricated stories. Let’s put a couple things together here folks:
    Name on the flyer – Jillian Varnold
    Location on the flyer – Holiday Inn in Montrose
    Put the two together and you find -> http://www.parker-vet.com/staff.html
    Oh My! They sell Science Diet too – CONSPIRACY!!!! Wait… they also sell Eukanuba, Waltham, IVD and Purina. Why does this matter? Because those are the foods that have a medical benefit for sick pets. And they sell them in a veterinary clinic! Yes, they want to try and use nutrition before medication – shocking, I know.

    I used to be a firm believer in your mission, but Susan, as of late you seem more interested in driving site traffic and rumors than the truth about pet food. There is always a conspiracy from “big pet food” in the works where you provide just enough evidence to accuse, but never enough for the full picture. Should we look at the “Big heart… really?” Post with lines like “Likely to contain” or “some dyes have links to illnesses”? Perhaps the plastic coated pet food kibble accusation? Two independent events you chose to link for your readers with the conclusion that starts with “Though this is only a guess,” incredible!

    In short – this is shoddy journalism! Shame on you for trying to stir up a witch hunt when you should be focusing on your original goal of championing to protect our furry friends.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Roger – sorry you can’t see the forest for the trees. Everything that I write includes evidence – everything. We’ll have to agree to disagree.

      1. Roger Daniel

        Susan – Agreed, we will have to disagree on this. There have been too many instances (this post include) where these articles are too light on fact and too heavy on unfounded, speculative accusation.

        I can see it all clearly, but fear with articles like this your focus is now on driving personal brand awareness than to help the pets we hold so dear. It’s just sad.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Not sure what other fact you needed Roger – I posted the flier, I heard directly from those that attended this meeting. And I didn’t accuse Science Diet of anything. The sole purpose of the post – as was stated – was to share with pet food consumers that this was not a TruthaboutPetFood.com seminar. If you misinterpreted the post in any other way – that was not my intention. I felt the message was very clear.

        2. Regina

          Um, I’m not seeing, as “Roger Daniel” puts it, Susan “driving personal brand awareness” over helping pets.

          SusanThixton never recommends any particular brand of food. So he could not possibly mean that type of branding.

          As for branding Susan Thixton, or her website, these people are very obviously co-opting the name of Susan’s website and mission, so if anyone is driving the wrong way here, it’s Science Diet.

    2. Concerned

      Wow, harsh much? Susan does a great job of educating the consumer. Makes me wonder if this is not Roger Biduk trying to discredit Susan? Which would be silly since they both fight for the same things. Science Diet & other companies should not be using her website name for anything. It’s deliberately misleading the consumers and we all (those of us who are aware) it.

    3. Reader

      Currently people fail in critical thinking skills due to massive media driven messaging that saturates the brain with clever words and images! All of it is designed to masquerade as information (truth?) when instead it is manipulation. Maybe “Roger Daniel” is the conspiracy theorist here. After all, poor little SD/Hills just happened to use an established domain name to attract (or hype) an audience, how purely accidental?

      Question number one. What’s really shocking here? The article is full of facts including the flyer, the location, the sponsor, the speaker, the topic, attendees familiar with TAPF who listened to PF half-truths. Question number two. Did the speaker share any new truth (or proof) about PF? Question number three. Why would a non-profit website, not running advertising, researching PFI background, versed in regulations, using SMEs and insider tips, bother to even care?

      What’s shocking is the PFI industry not being held to truth in advertising and permitted Compliance Policies to increase profitability and make a livestock “feed” while selling it as pretty whole food. While SD & Hills enjoy a “niche” market of formula specific diets sold by Vets for certain conditions, that still doesn’t mean they are delivering the “Truth About Pet Food” (or the reality of kibble) which they would like you to believe is enhanced nutrition for an already healthy pet. Unless you think eating dehydrated (unfit for retail) ingredients, powdered, re-mixed, extruded, chemically and synthetically altered, flavored, dyed … is a natural diet for animals designed to eat fresh food? So if SD/Hills wants to do any marketing then it should be for what it does, but not by pretending they are truth seekers.

      It didn’t have to be, but in fact the article was titled “Everyone has their own truth.” And THAT’s an understatement to say the least!

  15. Woofielover

    Congrats, Susan! This is absolute proof positive that you are a HUGE threat! When a company this big resorts to deliberately using your site’s name and reputation in order to hopefully gain access to the very public that knows “Truth About Pet Food” is synonymous with, well, TRUTH, you can bet your impact is more effective than they would care to openly admit to. Oh well, too late, they just did.

  16. Susan Thixton Author

    My thanks to everyone for your support on this – both in comments and in emails. As far as fighting them, when the Pet Food Institute pulled their TruthaboutPetFood.net and .org stunt – I learned it would cost a minimum of $5,000.00 to fight them. Many of you offered to send donations for this cause (not a chance I can afford this) – but my thoughts were it was better to spend donations on pet food testing than fighting a domain name infringement. And to be honest, I feel the same with this. I am not pleased with Science Diet’s effort to perhaps link their seminars to this website, but I would much prefer raising money for more pet food testing than this.

    And regarding our pet food testing – it won’t be long now!

    1. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

      WANTED:
      A computer-savvy (advanced level) supporter of Susan’s constant efforts on all our behalf to reprogram Science Diet’s fraudulent website to divert all ‘hits’ on their website to Susan’s legitimate website. This should be easy enough to do as British Petroleum did so studiously during their cover-ups of the disastrous oil rig breaches that our beautiful Gulf Coast and the many displaced workers still struggle with every day. What do you think? Cheaper than a domain lawsuit.

      1. Reader

        Believe me I “get” the sarcasm and irony of your “want ad.” They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and the impostors wanting to benefit from Susan’s existing credibility (and domain name) says it all. Thankfully TAPF stands alone and has no need to siphon off the sadly mis-led and the disbelievers, because eventually they will reach their own truth, when they encounter a significant event-changer. Usually having to do with a decline in a pet’s health or the premature death of a pet. How many comments do we see when Readers say they finally realized it could’ve been the PF that caused a pet health problem. And that they wished they had known more, earlier. Thankfully we are here just waiting for them to find us. And the more we promote these discussions the more “content” exists to pull people in through “key phrasing” searches!

        1. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

          Thank you READER, desired result accomplished, though “sarcasm” not intended, as was “irony.” Always interesting how perception guides our quest for truth.

  17. Karin

    Wow – what a low blow. Just goes to show the continual lack of class the Hill’s exhibits. Have you ever read the Amazon.com reviews of their foods? I have read the ones on their dry cat food (because I have a cat and thus, I do my research on foods – and yes, I want to transition her to a raw diet; she is on canned right now) – they have a “Nutrition Consultant” named “Wendy” who posts responses to the 1-star reviews – using “canned,” pre-written responses that don’t even address/rebut the content of the reviews she is responding to! I’ve seen her use the same responses multiple times on reviews for the same food. Just how stupid do they think we all are??!! ~~ I dropped the vet practice I had chosen (Dr. Holly Cheever – Voorheesville NY) because her practice website states that it is now pushing “the full line of Science Diet Prescription Foods.” The website changed only 2-3 weeks after my new cat’s initial post-adoption exam.

  18. Michelle

    Susan I would try to find a way to not allow them to taint the good name of this site and all of the good work that you have done, continue to do, and will do in the future! I also think protecting yourself(TruthaboutPetFood.com) and the pet parents that trust you from the misinformation that the “other truth sites” will impose on the uninformed. Thank YOU so much for all of the work that you do for our furry families!

  19. Glenn Frontin

    Susan, I am so glad you and I spoke on the phone and clarified how all this happened. Since you have such loyal followers let me just share with them that was had a great long conversation and I was very impressed with just the quick look I gave to your website and will def be checking it out further. we agreed on many things! But for those ready to sue Hills, they had absolutely nothing to do with my seminars and the Truth About Pet Food was my own simple title. the seminar is actually just called Pet Food Seminar! Not very creative but it works. Since I train veterinarians and their staff on therapeutic diets and how to use them I very often get questions about pet food labels and claims. one day a vet said I wish you could share this info with my clients. Well, why not? So clinics invited their clients to en evening of learning all about how ingredient panels are manipulated, what different term really mean legally, how web sites can say things that are untrue, etc. Pet food marketing is very misleading these days so I just try to help people evaluate foods without falling to the tricks. Since this is really just evaluating pet food marketing and not a Hills presentation,myth at is why Hills is not mentioned. I offer no sales, no coupons. it is strictly for information and another perspective. very often the folks that come are on a therapeutic food due to illness and want to understand why they can’ treed a regular diet. Some come just for another perspective and that’s what I offer. I contacted Susan as soon as I saw her organization was incorrectly associated with it and she was very nice and I can tell she is passionate and committed to her cause and I hope Hills will work with her on all the efforts she is working so hard for. We are on the same team, not enemies!

    I hope that clarifies things! And I don’t blame Susan for posting. I would have too! We all work too hard for our reputations and to gain the trust of others and in just the one conversation I can see she is someone worth listening to. We may disagree on some things but hopefully in the future our animals will benefit from our efforts.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Thank you Glenn. I appreciate your call and felt you were very sincere – very gracious.

      1. Regina

        Susan, in your original post, you said that attendees heard the speaker bash other foods and independent pet stores who don’t sell Science Diet. Was this information verified/clarified in your phone call with Glenn Frontin?

        I commend your graciousness to Mr. Frontin, but I guess I’m just so leery of anyone who speaks positively about Science Diet.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          I addressed this with Mr. Frontin – but he felt like he didn’t bash other brands or independent stores. He did believe in his company and whether I agree with him or not, I gave him respect because he was sincere. I did however – with his strong belief in his products – ask him to encourage his company to be first in line to have their foods verified with our Buy Aware project. My comment was (something like) ‘If you do use human grade meats – prove it, if you do use quality vegetables – prove it’. We’ll see.

    2. Thomas (Tom) N Reedy

      Glad you clarified? things; but, “We are on the same team”…don’t think so.

  20. Cindy

    Susan, I think this was handled well by both sides. But I hope you trademark your name in case future incidents are not handled as well.

  21. Sharon Buchanan

    I would agree with others about trademarking the name, Susan, however I have had difficulty registering my own trademark. I mostly do stained glass not for profit (I sell only by word of mouth and very rarely), and wanted to trademark a name associated with it. It was many years ago, but a $250 application fee later, my application was denied because I couldn’t prove that if someone else used the name that it would cause me “financial” harm.

    As for the use of .net, .org or any other version of your website, I can only say that I own two separate domain names along with every “dot” version. I don’t use them, but they’re mine and no one can usurp my ideas or work. So they may be able to create work using my unregistered trademark but they’ll have to come up with a different or modified website name.

    Keep up the good work. I know there’s more of us sharing this on our Facebook pages.

  22. Ellie

    I hope the man Susan spoke to on the phone was telling her the truth and that he will not use the same advertizing techniques for his future seminars. Sounds like he is quite experienced in dealing with the public. Hope there is some way to keep track of what he is doing.

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