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Lawsuit Regarding Man’s Best Friend: Alleged Beneful Dog Food Poisoning

They say a dog is a man’s best friend. Indeed, dogs are often a special part of the family, and have inspired sayings such as, ‘Be the person your dog thinks you are’.

It is no surprise then, that a class-action lawsuit pertaining to dogs’ health has been filed after many pet owners found their beloved dogs ill, or even dead.

On February 5, 2015, a potential class action lawsuit against the manufacturer of Beneful dog food was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Plaintiffs allege that certain ingredients  in Beneful dry kibble dog food has caused illness in thousands of dogs, and even death in some cases.

Frank Lucido of California is one such Plaintiff.  Lucido’s family began feeding all three of their dogs Beneful dog food around New Year’s, after which all three dogs became ill, and one died. The cause of death?  It is yet to be confirmed, but internal bleeding in the stomach and liver lesions were found during the post-mortem examination performed on the dog. Similar symptoms were found in Lucido’s other two dogs who had consumed Beneful as well.

Pet owners around the country claim to have had similar tragedies happen to their own dogs, and they, too, believe it was Beneful dog food that poisoned their pets.

Is this dog food really to blame for pet-poisoning, and if so, what exactly is the problem?  The lawsuit alleges that certain ingredients found in Nestle Purina PetCare Company’s Beneful dry kibble dog food are poisonous to dogs– particularly, propylene glycol, a known animal toxin that is also found in antifreeze. The lawsuit also alleges that mycotoxins (toxins produced by mold found in grains) pose a threat to dogs’ health.  This is, of course,  incredibly concerning to pet owners and animal lovers in general.

Bill Salzman, Nestle Purina’s Director of Corporation Communications,  called the lawsuit “baseless”, insisting that there is nothing wrong with Beneful dog food. “Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation,” he stated.  “Online postings can often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers.  Bottom Line: Customers can continue to feed [their dogs] Beneful with total confidence.”

Plaintiff’s attorney, Jeff Cerehino of Ram, Olson, Cereghino & Kopczynski isn’t so sure.  He says thousands of pet-owners are considering a possible link between Beneful dog food and their pets’ illnesses. “If it’s a hundred or so, it’s like, ‘Okay, a lot of dogs eat Beneful; things happen.’ But when you start getting into the thousands… .”

It is yet unknown how the class-action lawsuit against Nestle Purina PetCare Company will turn out.  A company official cited two earlier class-action lawsuits containing similar actions which have been dismissed.

The FDA has never recalled Beneful dog food.  Pet owners may want to review the current recall list to see if they have a pet product that has been recalled.   The FDA is, however, still concerned about certain dog jerky treats, linked to the deaths of many pets.

In the meantime, veterinarians like Dr. Jennifer Welser with BluePearl Veterinary Partners, urge dog owners to exercise vigilance when it comes to their pets’ behavior and health. “Any time you notice a medical problem or a significant change in your pet’s behavior, you should take them to your family veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinary hospital as soon as possible.”

Be the person your dog thinks you are. Take care of your pets.

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Brittany & Briana Deane

Brittany & Briana Deane

Brittany & Briana Deane, commonly known as “The Deane Twins” are identical twin legal analysts and reporters who provide viewers with information on a wide variety of legal and scientific issues. Both are licensed attorneys, as well as spokesmodels with a background in media relations. The Deane Twins have been seen co-hosting TV segments together, including a legal chat show for a news team in Houston, and a property investment show in Salt Lake City. The Deane Twins are originally from Delaware, and attended undergraduate university together in Virginia. Both twins graduated from Sweet Briar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English & Creative Writing and a second Bachelor of Arts degree in German. They were exchange students together at the University of Heidelberg in Germany and love meeting people from all over the world. Brittany and Briana split up for the first time in their lives to attend law school in different states. Brittany received her J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law. Brittany previously worked as a Legal Extern for the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Wyoming and in the field of intellectual property law. She also held a position at a firm out west, handling high-profile criminal law matters, before joining her current law firm. Briana graduated from the University of Houston Law Center, and worked for a Fortune 500 company in the oil and gas industry before joining her current firm, where she led in-house investigations into Business Ethics Help Line complaints and Code of Conduct matters. Briana has conducted corporate compliance trainings related to equal employment opportunity, anti-harassment, and anti-retaliation across the United States, serving audiences both large and small. The Deane Twins’ separation did not last long. They now work together and are known to share an office with double-desks! Their areas of practice include corporate compliance, personal injury, product liability, and labor & employment law. In addition to co-hosting TV segments together, the Deane Twins often travel together and enjoy writing in their spare time.
Brittany & Briana Deane

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