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Grieving family wants deadly dog treats taken off the market; Purina’s Waggin’ Train Jerky Tenders to blame

Within two weeks both the Thaxton’s family dogs suffered complete liver failure, one died and the other is struggling to survive after eating Purina’s Waggin’ Train Jerky Tenders chicken treats for dogs imported from China.

It all started when their beloved 10-year-old Pug Chaunsey who was a beloved member of the Thaxton family was rushed to the veterinarian one Saturday for uncontrolled vomiting and diarrhea. By Monday blood tests revealed that Chaunsey was in kidney failure.  Then Chaunsey’s Mom, Candace Thaxton, was forced to make the agonizing decision that every pet parent dreads and that was to put Chaunsey to sleep after veterinarians told her that there was no hope. Then, less than two weeks later, their 5-month-old puppy Penny came down with the same symptoms and was also diagnosed with kidney failure.

It didn’t take long before Candace Thaxton and her veterinarian soon realized there was one thing they shared in common: chicken jerky treats. Worse, she felt responsible for it was she who unwittingly gave her dogs the toxic treats, poisoning them. “I feel like I poisoned both of my dogs. I know that it’s not my fault. But I basically handed them poison. Because that’s what I did,” cried Candace.

And the Thaxton family is not alone. Reports of illnesses in dogs have increased dramatically after the FDA warned pet owners about chicken jerky products made in China. “Although everyone tells me it’s not my fault, it’s sad seeing my pug go through it and then watching my puppy go through it. And I don’t want anyone else to go through it,” said Candace.
Meantime, the FDA is still trying to pinpoint the exact source. As for the Thaxton’s, it’s become an expensive wait. Their vet bills thus far are around $4,000 dollars and they’re not finished with Penny’s treatment yet.

“I don’t know how many dogs it’s going to take before they do something to stop bringing this crap in,”
added Candace.

I ask you to consider, would the FDA spend four years testing to ascertain why a product was toxic, while allowing that product to remain on the market despite that the product was known by the FDA to the cause serious illness and death of children? Hundreds of children? Of course not. Think about the recent baby food formula that was suspected in the death of one infant, the product was yanked off the market before they even knew if there was anything wrong with it and as it turns out, there wasn’t anything wrong with the baby formula.  In the case of products for humans the FDA errs on the side of caution, and wisely so.

But, in the case of the death of a dog, nay, hundreds of dogs, perhaps even thousands of dogs, the FDA has entirely different set of standards. For the last four years, the FDA has said while they continue to test the chicken dog treats without success, they will allow the deadly product to remain on the market despite a growing body of evidence: the mounting reports of deaths that continue to pile up day after day.

Source: Family Shares Warning About Pet Treats After Dog’s Death

Related Articles: FDA Still Baffled Why Pet Treats from China are Poisoning Dogs…Again (poisonedpets.com)

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (26) Write a comment

  1. I needed to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it.
    I have got you saved as a favorite to look at
    new things you post…


  2. Pingback: SheltieTales » Dog and Cat Treats from China May be Poisoning Your Pets Even if They’re Branded Under a VERY Reputable Brand Name

  3. Pingback: FDA veterinarian confirms boots on the ground in China and asks vets for help « Poisoned Pets

  4. Pingback: ALERT: Vets warn about new treats from China poisoning dogs « Poisoned Pets

  5. I just recently read your artical and also just found out about the waggin train jerky treats. I have 5 weenie dogs I had 6 and had to put one down.. I have fed them these treats for years. And after reading everyone’s concerns my stomach just dropped. Only because our beloved kady was only 3 when we put her down about 3 yrs ago. I come home from work one day and I noticed kady wasn’t herself she was hiding and wouldn’t even come out for my hubby( her daddy) I got concerned since it was the weekend I had to drive 45 min to an animal hospital in Pittsburgh Pa. She didn’t have vomiting or diarrhea. She just looked confused. They said it was her back. So they sent us home with meds.. We didn’t make it out of the waiting room and she had a seizure. I’m thinking what the heck is that from. Anyways long story short we took her home. With I. The 45 min drive home. She was paralyzed no bladder control what so ever. Rushed her back to the hospital which they were jerks more concerned about the money. It’s 3am and the sergeon was called in. He was kind of mad we woke him and he just said back surgery probably wouldn’t help. So we opted to put her down thinking she wouldn’t walk again. We only had an X-ray on her back which showed a calcified disc but that’s normal in this type of dog. How do I no if these treats didn’t cause this. I still have her blood work so I’m gonna ask the vet to look at it again. We are like u all. I still cry for her after all these yrs and u blamed everyone on her death. Now we blame ourselves for putting her down. I wish I would of done the MRI on her back to make sure that’s what was wrong. She didn’t fall or anything like that and she walked up In till the seizure. If I find these treats we’re the cause I’m gonna be so irrate. But I probably will never no. I’m sorry about ur babies. My heart cries for ur family. Ty for listening , Kelly wentz


  6. I personally started buying USA products for my dogs after the apple juice with our infants. I thought to myself “If they would allow to poison our babies what about our pets. So with the intent of looking at my dog food ,treats,toys ALL were from china. Threw it all out. So I have to read labels, Big deal these are members of my family(yes I have 3 all rescued pets, what I should save there life than poison them slowly I think not). I have read the labels and sorry purina’s was the first I found in small letters made in china packaged in USA

    I buy homemade treats from a lady at the farm market. There are rawhides from the USA their harder to find but their there. I also learned just because you go to the pet store 75o/o of it is from China so be careful. I also alert other pet owners shopping for treats that they don’t want those treats for their dogs.
    My question though is what about the products made in brazil? I havn’t bought these of yet because I don’t know if there any good.


  7. Pingback: U.S. Senator Brown Presses the FDA over Inadequate Response to Tainted Chicken Jerky Inquiry « Poisoned Pets

  8. Thank you, it was last fall when they past away, so I doubt they still have the blood test. I live in a very small town, so not sure if my vet sent blood work off to another lab. I will certainly talk to my vet about it.
    Thank you so much for the info. I also have written to Del Monte about it and got an email saying they didn’t think they were responsible(go figure). I sent one back giving a piece of my mind. LOL…I will let you know if I get any results.

    thanks kay


    • Sorry to hear about that. Unfortunately, your story is the same as many others. I would encourage the vet to file a report – even if he is suspicious of the death. He does not need PROOF. Have you joined the Facebook group yet? And signed the petition? Go to my wall on FB: Mollie Morrissette and I can share all that info w you. Blessings, Mollie


  9. I have just found your website and would like to tell my story. I had a 4 yr old female weenie dog named snickers, and a 7 year old male corgi, name Milo. They loved the chicken jerky, it said it was all natural, so I thought it was safe. Snickers died of kidney failure last fall and Milo died a couple months later. It was then that I found out about this poison. I am sick to think that I gave it to them even when they were sick. I would like the name of the lawyer that you mentioned, please email me at kgfilly@hotmail.com


    • The attorney that represented the pet parents was, my hero, Randy Turner of Turner & McKenzie of Texas. You’ll need to show cause, which means either you or the FDA needs to find out what the toxin is. Until then, there isn’t anything you can do. Ask your vet to call Cornell’s toxicology lab and have him speak to the director and ask Cornell to test for nephrotoxins. I warn you though, it costs alot – $500-$800 an hour and up (so I was told by Cornell). And there are no guarantee they will find it. Make sure the vet files an adverse event report with the FDA and DEMAND they test your sample for NEPHROTOXINS, not the other crap they’ve been testing for. If you have any problems – write me and I’ll take care of it. That’s just my advice.


  10. My heart breaks for your loss. We too have struggled since feeding our dogs Waggin Train Chik’n Biscuits. 4 days after my first purchase of these treats my 3 year old toy rat terrier Bandit collasped. By the time I got him to the vet he was in organ failure. We stuggled for days whether to keep on treating hm or letting him go. Thank God for giving us the wisdom to stay strong for Bandit. After a month of medical treatments costing well over $4,000 he is finally healing. Both Bandit and our other 8 year old rat terrier Kali suffered from liver damage due to being fed these treats. Bandit will require medical care for the rest of his life. I too have stuggled with the guilt that it was I who purchased these treats and fed them to my beloved pets. It’s something that will haunt me for the rest of their lives. I wish the FDA would do something about these treats and I wish that stores would stop selling these products to unknowing pet owners. I have bone cancer so my memory is bad and I dont remember ever hearing about the dangerous chicken jerky coming from China. How many other pet parents have to suffer the loss of their beloved pets before somehting is done. I am sorry for your loss and sincerely pray your other pet survives this posioning. Don’t blame yourself.. blame the companies that purchase chiken jerky from China and the companies that sell it on the store shelves and most of all the FDA who is supposed to be there to protect us…God Bless


    • These stories just keep coming and coming. We have to say no to compnies that continue selling this poison. Boycott Nestle, Purina and all the others. Tell your friends to boycott these companies. Join the Facebook the cause Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China.


  11. Pingback: Consumers desperate for answers clutch at straws to stop jerky treats from poisoning more dogs « Poisoned Pets

  12. Pingback: Senator Brown Speaks to the Senate, Urging Swift Action on Deadly Dog Treats « Poisoned Pets

  13. Pingback: More dogs die as poisonous jerky treats remain on store shelves « Poisoned Pets

  14. Pingback: More dogs die as poisonous jerky treats remain on store shelves « Poisoned Pets

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  16. We just buried our beloved German Shepard of 12 years this past Sunday, thanks to a Chicken Jerky Treat that we purchased in a bag of well known dig food purchased locally. The company is aware that these treats are killing our pets but they sit back and have done nothing about pulling their China made treats. When I called to complain a d find out their side of the story, they sent me and others to their Settlement Dept.
    All chicken jerky treats that are made in China and/or the ingredients are coming from China are poisoning our dogs causing illness & death in many healthy dogs after they have consumed these treats even while staying within the guidelines. The FDA knows there is a link but it is undetermined as to what that link may be. At the slightest doubt these products should have been recalled or at the very least a warning label put on all packaging. We are seeking the removal of these products from all store shelves or warning labels put on all packaging. No animal should ever have to die due to treats.
    As of 1/3/12 the FDA has reported that the number of reports flooding in of sick and dying dogs has now reached into the hundreds since Nov. 2011, this is in addition to the 70 that was in its original warning on 11/18/11.

    What I am asking of you is to help me make the public aware and perhaps forcing someone from theses companies to show interest and help us. Myself and several others across the USA has joined forces and we are trying to get others aware on Facebook.


    • Rhonda, I cannot express how sad and angry this whole issue makes me. I have been writing stories about chicken jerky relentlessly. Check them out – I’ve done quite a few. Read my reply to Rhonda and just know that I will fight tooth and nail with you all on this. I am going to continue to do stories about them until this whole mess is sorted. I agree with you all 100% – it should be OFF THE MARKET!

      Read what I wrote about the FDA taking four years to test this crap and read the comment left by Phyllis Entis (eFoodAlert.com a microbiologist) – she has contacts in the FDA.

      The main thing people still seem to miss is that the country of origin (China) does not have to be listed on the package in certain circumstances. So – I’ll put in all caps (rude, I know, but hey I’ll shout it from the rooftops) DO NOT BELIEVE THE MADE IN THE USA CLAIM ON PACKAGES. Read my articles about the country of origin laws. Or Google it. People have got to know about this. And sadly, the good guys get thrown under the bus with the bad guys when they do this – because now no one will buy any treats “Made in the USA”. And there are good people out there. I just cannot say who, but read the comments of my articles and you’ll figure out who it is.

      Basically, I recommend to people to make their own. It’s sooooo easy.

      Also – DO NOT settle with these bastards – start a class action lawsuit – I gave the name of the attorney who sued Big Pet Food and won recently to Candace Thaxton and told her the same thing – SUE. It’s the only thing that will get them to stop.

      Write to me privately if you wish and I can fill you in on that. I’m behind you all on this. Read about the case in Texas where a couple just won a lawsuit about their pet that was killed (accidentally by a shelter) was worth more than the value paid for it. This changes the game.

      There is hope…


    • I signed it yesterday. I found out about you through Candace Thaxton, saw your FB page too. I am all over this chicken jerky story. Right now I’m finishing up a follow-up to Candace Thaxton’s story (Chansey & Penny) and I am putting your petition in the article – in fact – I’m putting it in the sidebar until that crap is OFF THE SHELVES! Read the other articles I’ve done about chicken jerky – I’ve done quite a few. God bless you and poor baby Bella, I will do everything in my power to help you all. You are doing the right thing by getting active – the petition is awesome! You have done a wonderful thing, fave faith… I’m on your side….Mollie


  17. Our store has all treats made in the US. I recently tried out a Moozle and so far so good. It’s a dehydrated cow nose. The Chinese are poisoning themselves as well – I don’t buy any food product from China for man nor beast.


    • Trouble is, country of origin is entirely dependent on whether the product or ingredient imported was changed in some way after it is imported into the US, they are not required to list the country of origin (China).

      Think about supplements for example – have you ever seen the country of origin of every single individual ingredient listed in the product? You won’t. Wherever the imported product or ingredient was assembled, manufactured, or changed in some way from it’s original state, then it is no longer a product of the originating country (China, for example) and becomes then a product of the country with which it was “assembled”.

      Take away message – DO NOT FEED ANY chicken treats to pets, until this whole mess gets sorted. Until then, make your own or find a cottage industry manufacturer that is local that you may visit and see the product manufacturing facility or kitchen.

      Heads up on other treats as well, especially dehydrated animal parts such as ears and bones and such. They can break into very sharp pieces and are usually contaminated with salmonella esp if you buy them from open bins in pet stores or feed stores. Do not let anyone handle the treats, or touch the surfaces the treats came in contact with or you and your pet could become ill from salmonella poisoning.


  18. This corporate crime is just another example of unforgivable treatment of the non-human sickness and death of pets, (and farm animals as well – can’t forget them). Like Mollie said, if they were HUMAN deaths, the product would be whisked of the market before you could blink. When I go to town tomorrow, I will check my feed store and also the big box store for Wagon Train and read them the riot act, if I see the Wagon Train Jerky Tenders. Our local feed store has shelves loaded with treats. These may also be an accident waiting to happen. PLEASE DON’T BUY ANY JERKY TREATS, PIGS EARS, OR ANY OF THAT DANGEROUS JUNK.

    In Mollie’s November 19, 2011 post, FDA Still Baffled Why Pets Treats From China are Poisoning Dogs Again….This has been going on for years!!! Word is not getting out to the public.!!! Every pet store and feed store has this crap available and the public who is buying it are like zombies…”Buy treats, buy treats, my dog loves treats…” It is also so insidious, because the pets are slowly dying over a period of years, a hard one to take to court. The pitiful FDA issues a teeny tiny Recall, and then another new product just as bad takes its place.

    Pigs ears and Salmonella…babies crawl around on the floor and sample the treats the dogs has left unattended. Baby gets salmonella poisoning. Then, another blog titled: Toxic Treat: Diseased Irradiated Ears & Sharp Enough to Put A Hole in a Tire, March 9th.: “Partial obstructions are often difficult to diagnose until the point at which the fragment is ready to perforate the wall of the bowel from pressure against the sharp edges. If perforation has occurred, the infection that ensues from leakage of intestinal contents can be fatal.” As well as being diseased, plus irradiation which is cancer producing, AND being like eating glass, your dog is lucky to be alive.

    I digress.


    • Yes, it is horrible. But you know, with me Mom, you’re preaching to the choir and with the FDA you are ‘throwing good money after bad’ or ‘pissing in the wind’ or it’s ‘falling on deaf ears’. All we can do is to continue to vote with our wallets and keep educating consumers, and undoing the years of mindless brandwashing that consumers brains have been corrupted with…one step at a time…one day at a time…helping one person…one cat…one dog at a time.



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