More Problems for Evangers Pet Food Owner

31 Comments

This time, the Chicago Tribune is reporting Joel Sher – owner of Evangers Pet Food – “allegedly offered $5,000 to a witness in exchange for changing testimony in a case from 2010 where he is accused of ordering his company employees to divert nearly $2 million worth gas and power lines to his store.”

Troubles started for Evangers Pet Food President Joel Sher with charges filed against them in the Circuit Court of Cook County Criminal Division in March 2010.  “The Defendants Joel Sher and Holly Sher are charged by complaint with commission of the offenses of theft of property of a value in excess of $500,000, a non-probationable Class 1 felony, punishable by a period of incarceration in the Illinois Department of Corrections of not less than 4, but not more than 15 years.  In addition, both are charged with money laundering over $500,000.”

It appears the trouble continues.  On February 9, 2013 the Chicago Tribune wrote – story titled Man accused of trying to bribe witness:

“A Lincolnwood man who is facing charges of illegally diverting gas and power to his pet food company was hit with more charges of trying to bribe a witness in the case, Cook County prosecutors said Saturday.

Joel Sher, 56, allegedly offered $5,000 to a witness in exchange for changing testimony in a case from 2010 where he is accused of ordering his company employees to divert nearly $2 million worth gas and power lines to his store.
 
 At the time, prosecutors alleged that Sher ordered employees to use jackhammers to dig through concrete and asphalt and divert gas lines, as part of an elaborate system in which gas flow was diverted before it ever reached the meter.

The Sher family, whose Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. store in Wheeling was once featured on the Rachael Ray food show, also allegedly diverted electricity by tapping into main power lines on poles outside their plant, according to court papers.
 
The loss to Nicor Gas was estimated at $1.4 million, while ComEd lost an estimated $328,000 in energy services, officials said.

In 2010, Cook County prosecutors charged Sher, of the 6500 block of North Navajo Avenue, with felony theft and money laundering. His wife, Holly Sher, was charged with the same crimes.

That case is still pending, according to court records.

Joel Sher now faces three new criminal charges, including subornation of perjury, bribery and communicating with a witness, who was not identified in Cook County bond court Saturday.

Sher’s defense attorney declined to comment after the hearing. Sher, who was held in leiu of a $75,000 bond, is scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday.”

The Cook County Sherriff website shows five entries for inmate Joel Sher (I assume this means five charges against him):  (to view the five entries for Joel Sher – go to http://www2.cookcountysheriff.org/search2/ – on this “Inmate Locator” page, enter Sher in last name, Joel first name – click Begin Search).

JoelSher

One: Individual Inmate Report
Jail I.D. # 2013-0209205
Inmate Full Name  SHER, JOEL
Booked Date 02/09/2013
Bail Amount 500,000
Charges 720 ILCS 5 16-1(a)(1) [1014700
THEFT/UNAUTHD CONTROL/>100K

Two: Individual Inmate Report
Jail I.D. # 2013-0209205
Inmate Full Name  SHER, JOEL
Booked Date 02/09/2013
Bail Amount 500,000
Charges 720 ILCS 5 16-1(a)(1) [1014700
THEFT/UNAUTHD CONTROL/>100K

Three: Individual Inmate Report
Jail I.D. # 2013-0209205
Inmate Full Name  SHER, JOEL
Booked Date 02/09/2013
Bail Amount 500,000
Charges 720 ILCS 5 16-1(a)(1) [1014700
THEFT/UNAUTHD CONTROL/>100K

Four: Individual Inmate Report
Jail I.D. # 2013-0209205
Inmate Full Name  SHER, JOEL
Booked Date 02/09/2013
Bail Amount 500,000
Charges 720 ILCS 5 16-1(a)(1) [1014700
THEFT/UNAUTHD CONTROL/>100K

Five: Individual Inmate Report
Jail I.D. # 2013-0209205
Inmate Full Name  SHER, JOEL
Booked Date 02/09/2013
Bail Amount 500,000
Charges 720 ILCS 5 16-1(a)(1) [1014700
THEFT/UNAUTHD CONTROL/>100K

To read the court documents from 2010 on the electricity/gas theft charges, Click Here
To read the Cook County State’s Attorney Charges Press Release from March 2010, Click Here
To read the FDA Warning Letter to Evangers Pet Food from May 2011, Click Here (not related to this incident)

When anything else is learned of this, it will be shared with all.

 

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

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

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31 Comments

  1. brit

    obviously someone who can be trusted to put good ingredients into your pet food. Either feed raw or feed cooked, but make it yourself.

    • Sand

      I agree! I own a small pet boutique and those are the exact reasons I will never carry this line. If I can’t trust a food company it does not hit my shelves.

  2. Anyone Use Evanger's

    [...] This time being accused of trying to bribe a witness with $5000 in their theft of utilities case. More Problems for Evangers Pet Food Owner No way would I ever feed anything that came from these dishonest people. Reply With [...]

  3. darlene

    brit, i was thinking the same about their trustworthiness. god only knows what they would put into their pet food to cut their costs and what lies they would tell to the consumer about the ingredients and nutritional value of their products. being that they were stealing gas to begin with, i’m surprised their business continued. seems like pet owners in the area they live in would have heard about this and the type of people they are and would have spread the word.

  4. Peg

    This guy and his operation are just beneath pond scum in my opinion.

    What we really ned to do is find out everyone else he cans and packages for. This way, we the consumer, can make an informed decision as to whether or not we want to continue to spend money with someone who doesn’t give a flying fig about anything but lining his pockets with our hard earned money.

    Thank you for letting me rant.
    Five years ago, I used the Evanger brand and had very sick cats because of it. Off the chart copper levels aren’t good for cats or dogs.

  5. Kim

    Living in Chicago – this is not shocking and nothing more than “the Chicago way”. Sad but very true. Though, you do have to wonder if he approached making pet food in the same way.

  6. Lesliek

    Well I’m shocked ! In case it wasn’t easily noticed , that was total sarcasm. Nothing this company or these owners do will surprise me. Just sign me their accused extortionist, I dared to ask for a refund after spending 15k on my chi who ate their food.

  7. CB

    It is surprising that many people apparently never heard or read about the FDA warning letter in which the Evanger food company was found to have different meats from those listed on the labels in their cans, or none of the kind of meats the label listed. For example, I think they had pork in some of the cans of beef or duck (can’t remember which one), and some of the cans of duck had no duck at all in them. That was it for me, as far as buying Evanger’s, because this is the kind of mistake that does not happen by accident. Sadly, all the boutique dog food stores and many websites still seem to be carrying Evanger’s foods, and I have to conclude they either don’t know about the warning letter or think it was a one-time event. I wish it were more widely publicized. If anyone wants to read it, you can find it on the FDA.gov site.

  8. Lisa Parker

    Thank You, Susan! We just bought 3 cans of Evanger’s cat food today to try. Fortunately I read this email before opening it. We will return to store and notify them of the situation! We appreciate all your hard work.

  9. Maggie

    A few years ago I purchased Evanger’s cat food a couple of times. One tin contained something obviously different from what was stated on the label. It looked like pieces of fish, which was not what I had bought. I contacted the company, and they said they had a batch which was mislabelled by mistake. On top of this, the tins themselves, steel, I believe, looked to be in bad shape, with what looked like rusting on the top.

    The pet store owner insisted Evangers was a top brand, but I was really uncomfortable with what I had seen, and I never bought Evangers again.

  10. Jessie

    Susan,
    Since you moderate every comment and don’t include any comments that even mildly are of another opinion, I’m just going to use your comment box to write to you directly. Even for you, this is a low class article. I read that you were at the Global Pet Expo and I was shocked to learn that you were not banned from the show. I am sure many of the exhibitors think you are more of a detriment to the pet industry than a benefit. All you do is kill businesses – for what? To try to make a name for yourself? As a reporter, you do a crappy job of doing research for the positive side of things. The name of your blog site is pretty misleading-the Truth about pet food? More like whatever Susan Thixton feels like grumbling about because she has some self esteem issues.
    It is obvious from the comments on all of the articles that you have posted that your little trolls and shills are the only comments you permit. That is also low class.
    Yours truly,
    Jessica

    • Susan Thixton

      It never ceases to fail – every time I post anything about Evangers Pet Food, the hate comments appear. Your comment is from an IP address in the Chicago area. I wonder if you are affiliated with Evangers? There is one simple way for your dislike of this website to be cured…don’t visit it. And for information purposes, this website is for pet owners – not for manufacturers.

    • Pacific Sun

      Well I’m not the website’s owner, so I don’t even have to be polite.
      .
      Couple of give-aways in your email “MO”: In terms of pointing out controversy or expose, why would you be reacting only to the criticism of Evanger’s? Heaven knows there’s a whole range of PF companies being reported on in TAPF. How would you know Susan attended the GPE? That is, unless you’re monitoring the site? Would that be just isolate bad press on Evanger’s? The answer would be yes. How much does the job pay? It’s also my guess that this is an attempt to intimidate the sources or providers and discourage then in the future.
      .
      If you consider TAPF is a crappy job of reporting negative news “already”, then what would you consider to be a good job? Ignoring all the problems and just offering free positive publicity to PF companies? Lovely. So for some reason you think Evanger’s is particularly deserving of positive recognition? Maybe you know a lot about the PFI in general, as in comparing Evanger’s to all the rest. Like, if you think Evanger’s has a problem … then you should know about “such and such” and realize it’s in the entire industry!
      .
      So does “useful” reporting obviously means being biased. But what exactly is the “positive” side of reporting then? For example, only 14 out of 86 companies solicited have supplied their Pledge of Quality and Origin. Uhmm, did Evanger’s??? There are only about 13 pet foods that made “The List for 2013″ which is PF noted for human grade quality, facitiies, transparency, wholesomeness, accurate labeling, knowledge of origin, etc. Did Evanger’s make that list? So I wonder why not?
      .
      And just between us, whenever a reader “needs” to attack another writer on a personal basis (as in suggesting low self-esteem or whatever) that just proves there isn’t much else available to criticize. As in a lack of FACTS? What information, evidence, or truth do you have to counter the allegations that somehow made it into the Public Record? Yes, we’re an open minded group here. And we just LOVE to hear the truth. No matter where it comes from.
      .
      Give it a shot!

  11. Rhiannon

    So much for trusting small family run businesses more than big businesses. This just goes to show that you can’t trust any of them! Making my own pet food seems more and more appealing every day.

  12. Anne

    Hmm, The comments from “Jessie” kind of make one wonder if she had been offered an incentive to write the reply, similarly to the alleged charged of witness tampering.

    • Peg

      I was thinking the same thing Anne.

      What kind of “bonus points” did “Jessie” get?

  13. Riva

    Chelsea aka Jessie/Jessica, Susan is definitely bringing the facts to the table that further implicate that there is a present charge for bribing a federal witness. Not liking facts being reported, has nothing to do with killing businesses. Facts are facts. Thank you Susan.

    • Sharon

      I too think it was Chelsea Sher as Jessie.

  14. David

    Evangers has never had a major recall due to Salmonella or Melamine.They were in no way part of the great recall of 2007. Not are they part of the current HUGE samornlla recall for treats sold in target costco walmart and samsclub happening right now.
    Joel sher is accused of these crimes and at this point it’s unresolved. Us citizens are allowed due process. I don’t condone wrongdoing and the charges are distrurbing. if he is Guilty he will be punished accordingly if he isn’t guilty then what? People do bad things and make stupid decisions. I don’t know what is going through Joel Shers head. What I do know is I have four beautiful healthy cats. two Middle-aged tuxedo girls at home and two 10 month old ginger twin boys at my shop and their diet consists of about 70% Evangers canned varities 10% dry evangers and 20% raw (radcat). Everybody is entitled to their opinion… The preceding was mine.

    • Sharon

      Do you really believe if they had a problem they would recall their product? I don’t. Have you ever seen the plant? It’s disgusting!!!

    • Reader

      I think you’re another Evanger’s employee (probably family or friend). This posting alone is disgusting: “Anyone who has ever seen the inside of their Factory would be sicken just to think this was gourmet, the blood on the floor, maggots on the meat, leaking boilers and cookers, The refrigeration for the meat is an old trailer with a generator that barley works. Kosher it is not I would love to meet the Rabie that blesses this food.” What this statement tells me, is that this condition is probably perfectly acceptable throughout the PFI. In fact, Evanger’s over reaction every time something negative posts, only means they “feel” they are being singled out within an entire industry that no doubt does equal or worse than Evanger’s! (And if not, then just prove it). I am SO disappointed in Evanager’s as a PF oompany. It was one of my 3 “go-to” foods I felt I could always trust. Loved the fish formula, the canned, the stool consistency. But know this, your intimidation tactics, your whining, your protesting too much, having your day in court defense, etc. just smacks of a “priviledged” mentality. The ONLY way to distinguish the quality and integrity of any PF company, that you’re so desperately not wanting to lose in the press, was to have operated several knotches above all the rest! You probably had all the resources to do that. You certainly know what decent food meant. You had the image nailed. But instead decided it was just good enough being one of all the others, right? What nerve claiming the food is even Kosher, when it isn’t even fit for a dog! No offense intended to our wonderful companions out there. Shame Evangers. Oh, and I am appalled at the picture and booking details also being posted along with this article. That’s what really got Evanger’s attention in the first place (not the even the issue itself) – right? By the way, I COOK for my dogs, and since you’re monitoring this site, you’ll find that pretty much the bottom line solution many owners are adopting. Yeah, guys, you and the PFI – you’re losing business, period. Trust us on this one!

    • David

      I have worked in pet stores for a decade and currently own my own business. I maintain a healthy diet for myself and my animals. I shop local, eat ethically sourced foods and I don’t own a vehicle. The FACT is that I have 4 very healthy cats and they eat mainly Evanger’s. As I stated I do not condone criminal behavior and the courts will see that justice is served. Some of these “comments” are simply just vitriol. Just because I have an opinion contrary to someone else does not mean I am an employee of Evanger’s, nor am I family or a friend of the owners. To suggest as such is just paranoia and “trolling”, I think a company that has been around since 1935 and is worldwide (they sell Evenger’s in Germany and Poland to name a couple ) has managed to gain a few supporters over the years. And thats all I have to say about the matter. Thank you

      • Pacific Sun

        Then you’re new to the site David. Lucky for you you’re not an Evanger’s employee. And that you are generally well informed and act responsibly. In response: people aren’t being critical just because another reader has an opinion. I don’t even consider this discussion vitriol; but shocking, yes. What people are doing is defending themselves, by reacting to experience, denouncing negative track records and an absence of transparency! The observations in your comment are based upon good fortune with 4 cats eating an Evanger’s diet (I hope it’s at least wet food), the years Evanger’s has been in business, and how they ship overseas. I used to believe in Evangers too, liked the look and feel of it, the results, recommended it, tried other foods and always returned to it. It took me a couple of years following TAPF actually. Finding too many “worm holes” that kept surfacing. Not just about Evanger’s. No way is the spotlight only on Evanger’s. That’s where the experience comes in! No single brand is much worse than the rest. And that’s kind of the point. It’s the PFI (pet food industry) itself. After all, and after all the reading, readers look for the foods that rise ABOVE the industry’s paltry standards. It’s not good enough (anymore) knowing pets merely survive on the food. It’s that people are tired of knowing what “can” happen, or worse, “does” happen unseen. For business owners (regardless of your own trade) negative publicity on this food, and many others, can certainly affect such a high traffic product. And profit. That’s where the heated rebuttals come from (usually). So as long as you’re so full of “assurances”, I am too. As said before, TAPF is not just another idle, chatty, and gossipy forum, where people have nothing better to do than blow hot air. Or “chide” one another. This is about the health and welfare of our pets; we couldn’t care less about “personalities” involved, or creating sensational attention. Unfortunately the truth IS shocking. The articles here ARE well researched. And there are plenty of behind-the-scenes contributors helping to support and backing up the reports. These articles actually can not afford NOT to be well founded, and that’s exactly why there is such heated reaction. Culpable Parties “know” once the information is published, that it IS uncomfortable. How it damages the confidence level over and over again. The PFI (as you probably know) is a highly managed, very image controlled billion dollar business! No one begrudges any opportunity for profit. When it’s done ethically. So if the industry really had the best interests of pets and consumers in their cross-hairs, they would’ve learned a long time ago how to best demonstrate that. They’d be standing in line to earn the consumer’s confidence and continued loyalty. Instead communication is shut off when a pet gets sick from a bad pet food, recalls are minimized, ingredient origin is disguised, processing and packaging is mishandled, even the accuracy of content is now in question, labeling is fractured, and formulas are rendered, extruded and chemically altered. The question is, if you really are a savvy and responsible consumer, then why would you not want to be as well informed as possible about what your pet consumes? If you think Evanger’s is being unfairly maligned, know there are 2500 PF formulas posted in the author’s PetSumer Report, with a range of reviews. At least “hedge” your bets with no single PF brand. But – if you are “truly” an impartial and thoughtful advocate, (as your response indicates) then you too will get to the point of cooking for your pets. I guarantee it.

  15. Feb.25, 2013 Pet News | PowerHourReport.com

    [...] More Problems for Evangers Pet Food Owner Susan Thixton – This time, the Chicago Tribune is reporting Joel Sher – owner of Evangers Pet Food – “allegedly offered $5,000 to a witness in exchange for changing testimony in a case from 2010 where he is accused of ordering his company employees to divert nearly $2 million worth gas and power lines to his store. [...]

  16. Sharon

    It is very important retailers and consumers all know about these situations. It’s up to us as consumers to decide if we want to continue feeding. All you are doing Susan is posting facts. What other companies do they manufacture for? I’d like to know as I don’t want to feed those foods either.

  17. Robert

    The story is True anyone who thinks the Shers’ are innocent should think twice and know the facts that they are going to jail. I wouldn’t feed there food to anything if it was the last thing to eat on earth. Rachel Ray was duped! Anyone who has ever seen the inside of their Factory would be sicken just to think this was gourmet, the blood on the floor, maggots on the meat, leaking boilers and cookers, The refrigeration for the meat is an old trailer with a generator that barley works. Kosher it is not I would love to meet the Rabie that blesses this food.

    • Robert

      Rabbi Sholem Fishbane from the Chicago Rabbinical Council said pets have no obligation to keep kosher… He also explained that kosher food for pets is not kosher for people too. Approved pet food producers follow the fundamental rules, but the single ingredients of the product are not kosher. For example the meat could come from impure animals, such as pigs and horses, and is not butchered according to Jewish guidelines.
      http://www.allaboutfeed.net/Home/General/2008/10/Kosher-pet-food-for-your-dog-AAF002462W/

      Note the beef and *bacon* are KOSHER.
      http://www.heartypet.com/p-1374-evangers-all-natural-classic-beef-and-bacon-canned-dog-food.aspx

      Another thing about kosher, it’s only the front half of a cow that can be kosher, the rear half is not kosher but can still be used in kosher pet food.

      It’s the lack of “Chametz” (grains) that is basically what makes many Evanger products kosher – they offer many kosher grain-free varieties.

      A few other select brands of Kosher pet food for 2013 are also listed here: http://www.star-k.org/kashrus/kk-passover-petfood.htm

      The Torah explicitly allows Jews to feed non-kosher food to dogs when it says, “You must not eat flesh torn by beasts in the field; you shall cast it to the dogs.” (Exodus 22:30) The meat that this verse refers to, “flesh torn by beasts in the field” can’t be kosher because it wasn’t slaughtered in the way mandated by Jewish law, and anyway the meat could have come from a non-kosher animal.

      Joseph (Yosef) Landa of the Chicago Rabbinical Council is the actual consultant to Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food

      • Robert

        Thank you, That I did not know. You helped me learn something interesting today.

  18. Annonomous

    Well, the Shers have some consequences for their actions! Joel lost a case, several of his employees sued him for non-pmt of overtime. He had to pay them all different amounts.$$$$$$ He told his employees that he wanted all the checks back and they would get 10% of it if they wanted to keep their jobs. Most quit. The plant is moving to markham so watch out for the new plant. His kids run it with him now I wonder what he is teaching his twins?

  19. Carol

    I am so disillusioned now after spending lots of time over the last couple of years reading reviews about dog food companies and who makes the healthiest dog food. Evangers came up with 5 stars; the highest rating. It listed how natural and healthy all the ingredients were, etc. So I decided to upgrade my dog’s food to this trying to go grain free. Well, I noticed since I got this last batch of Evangers she seemed hesitant at times to eat it, and then she finally would if she got hungry enough later on – but this was not like her. So I was getting worried; why she suddenly did seem to hungry anymore. She would eagerly come in to eat but then I’d put the food down, and she would smell it and start pacing or she’d run right out the dog door again. I had to keep calling her back in and try to coax her to eat. She’d finally eat. But the last few cans were worse. She wouldn’t even touch the last 3 meals. I had to toss her food. She let it sit all day. By the way, I did not know of any of these issues yet w/ Evangers. I just barely found out about the charges against him regarding stealing the gas line etc. She’s a healthy dog, and I knew she didn’t lose her appetite because she wanted to eat the cat’s food and my food, she just didn’t want to touch her food. So this hesitation to eat has been going on ever since I got her the Evangers about a week and half. Finally, I decided to go get her another dog food. I grabbed a few cans of Hill’s new food, “Ideal Balance” canned because the ingredients look pretty good; it has no corn, wheat gluten or soy in it, first 3 or 4 ingredients are real meat. I came home, gave her some of that and she ate it like she she hadn’t eaten real food in weeks. She was wagging her tail. She finally eagerly ate it all, Finally, and she licked that bowl clean. Next day, I gave her the new dog food again in the a.m. and same response; she WAITED for me to serve her, no pacing or running back out the dog door, and she licked the bowl clean. So that evening, I did a test; I put some of the Evangers in her bowl, and then put the Hills gravy slices on top. I stood there watching her to see if she would eat the Evangers now that it had gravy over it. She ate the Hill’s slices, but as she picked up a chunk of the Evangers (it’s in loaf form) she spit it out on the floor and left it. She did it again until she left about 3 pieces of the Evangers loaf on the floor. She picked out the slices of Hills around the Evangers loaf food. She left all the Hills food in her bowl. Dogs aren’t that picky of eaters. I am convinced that something is wrong with that Evangers canned dog food. Something must taste very bad in that Evangers food. It’s the Grain Free Premium Chicken dog food. She won’t touch it. I have about a dozen cans of that stuff, she hesitantly ate a few cans since I got the shipment in, but the last 2 cans I had to toss. She left the food all day. I don’t care about the money, I’m not even donating these cans to a shelter, in case they are contaminated – I’m tossing them in the garbage. She eagerly eats the new dog food with enthusiasm, so that’s all I need to see. What is so disappointing and misleading is this company had fantastic reviews, and their website which boasts of a human grade facility? Now just to read about how unethical this business owner is! Now after my dog’s response to the last batch of canned food I got from them, I’m wondering what processing steps he might be skipping that could be compromising the safety and freshness of the dog food!? I won’t ever by Evangers again, and to tell you the truth after reading all the fantastic reviews and high ratings all over the place about ANY dog foods I don’t think I care to read anymore reviews. From now I’m going to just go by the list of ingredients and let my DOG tell me if it’s good or not! What do people know, we don’t eat the stuff!

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