CHICAGO (CN) - A Pomeranian named Cleopatra died of kidney failure a week after eating Purina's Chinese-made dog treats, her owner claims in a federal class action.
Adkins says bought Yam Good dog treats from Wal-Mart last month for his 9-year-old pooch. Waggin' Train, a Nestle Purina company, makes the chicken jerky and yams treats in China, according to the complaint.
"Between March 13, 2012 and March 15, 2012, Mr. Adkins gave one of the treats to Cleopatra daily, which he chopped into two to three pieces," the lawsuit states. "Mr. Adkins made no other changes in her diet."
"Immediately thereafter, Cleopatra became sick and, on March 26, 2012, died of kidney failure."
"Mr. Adkins owns another nine year old Pomeranian, named Pharaoh," the complaint continues. "Mr. Adkins did not feed any of the 'Yam Good' treats to him. Pharaoh did not become ill."
Apart from the treats, Adkin s usually cooked beef and chicken for Cleopatra and Pharaoh, his attorney Daniel Edelman told Courthouse News.
"Our client's dogs were not taking any other manufactured products, only chicken jerky," Edelman, of Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, said in an interview.
"One of his dogs ate it and died, and the other wouldn't touch it, and is alive and well. The normal consequences of eating chicken and yams do not include kidney failure."
Waggin' Train dog treats are made in China. The Yam Good packaging states the treats are "wholesome," "nutritious & great tasting" and "what nature intended," according to the complaint. The packaging also allegedly states: "It means a lot to us to help you treat your dog right."
Adkins claims that "Nestle Purina and Waggin' Train, LLC had received complaints of more than 500 incidents in which dog treats containing chicken jerky imported from China caused dogs to become sick or die."
Quoting a blog post on PoisonedPets.com, the complaint says, "Makers of Waggin' Train dog treats Nestle Purina continue to deny today any problem with their treats despite hundreds of reports of complaint to the FDA. ... Nestle-Purina states if the FDA can't find the contaminant then they do not have to take the product off the market or take any responsibility for the illness and death of pets associated with their product."
Adkins says Waggin' Train's website now has warnings about its products on its website, but it still markets those products as "wholesome."
"The portion of Waggin' Train website promoting 'Yam Good' dog treats as of April 16, 2012, still described the 'Yam Good' product as follows:
'The name says it all! Sure to please even the pickiest of dogs, these wholesome yams wrapped with chicken are packed with flavor and goodness. Waggin' Train Yam Good snacks will satisfy your dog with the natural sweetness of yams,'" according to the complaint.
"Neither Mr. Adkins nor any other reasonable person would feed dog treats to their dogs knowing that there was a substantial risk of death or illness from doing so," the suit also states. "Mr. Adkins did not learn of the FDA warning or see the warnings on the Waggin' Train website until after his dog died.
"Waggin' Train and Nestle Purina intentionally concealed known facts concerning the safety of their dog treats in order to increase or maintain sales," Adkins claims.
Edelman took issue with this advertising in an interview with Courthouse News.
"It's not appropriate to state without reservation that something is wholesome, when your own website notes that the FDA has raised questions about the safety of the products," Edelman said.
Adkins seeks punitive damages for breach of warranty, fraud, negligence and product liability. Nestle Purina Petcare Company, Waggin' Train LLC, and Wal-Mart are named as defendants.
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