On Wednesday, Dennis Adkins from Illinois sued both Nestle Purina Petcare and Wal-Mart Stores, alleging that his 9-year old Pomeranian died from eating chicken jerky treats the defendants knew posed a substantial risk of illness or death. Adkins holds that a 9-year old dog dying from eating a dog treat is not “what nature intended.”
The federal lawsuit filed in Chicago seeks class-action status. Adkins, 57, claims that the packaging of Nestle Purina’s Waggin’ Train Yam Good dog treats claims the product as “just wholesome goodness” and “it’s what nature intended.”
Adkins said that after buying from Wal-Mart he fed the treats one each day from March 13 to 15 to his 9-year old Pomeranian, Cleopatra, without any change in the rest of her diet. But Cleopatra died on March 26 of kidney failure, while another 9-year old Pomeranian owned by Adkins, who was not fed the treat, did not become ill.
The suspicions of Adkins may not be entirely unfounded. In November, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported an increase in dog illnesses linked with chicken jerky from China. The USFDA had issued a warning over the matter in 2007.
Adkins submitted that he was unaware of the risk involved in the food and that later he came to know that Nestle Purina was aware of more than 500 cases in which dogs died or became ill after being fed the chicken jerky imported from China.
Adkins said that there was no FDA warning on the packages. “Who in their right mind would feed something to an animal that has an FDA warning?” Adkins said in a phone interview with the media.
Nestle Purina spokesman Bill Salzman said: “We believe the claims made in the suit to be without merit and intend to vigorously defend ourselves. We can say that Waggin’ Train products continue to be safe to feed as directed.’
The Wal-Mart spokesman Greg Rossiter said, “We go further than other U.S. retailers in requiring our suppliers of pet food and treats to gain the same level of food safety certification required of our human food suppliers.”
The case is Adkins v. Nestle Purina Petcare Co et al, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, No. 12-02871.