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Deadly dog bones hit with class action; Real Ham Bones splinter, killing dogs

UPDATE: I was contacted by the Better Business Bureau because they would like to hear form people whose dogs have been affected by these dangerous treats. Here is what they told me:

We are asking sites to share this message about Dynamic Pet Products from us because the Better Business Bureau is working to protect your pets. If you or someone you know has had a dog become ill or die after being given a Real Ham Bone distributed by Dynamic Pet Products, BBB would like to speak with you. Email us at complaints@stlouisbbb.org or call us at 314-584-6723.

To clarify– BBB remains a neutral third party in all complaints, but we do publicize instances where companies haven’t addressed complaints adequately– as we have done twice so far with Dynamic Pet Products.  The more complaints we have on file, the more compelling a case can be made about a company’s impact.  And frequently, the cases with more official BBB complaints will get more media attention.

With all this in mind, we’d like to get official complaints from all the people we have seen complaining elsewhere on the internet.Your help in reaching out to those affected will be much appreciated.

A woman whose beloved basset hound suffered fatal injuries after it swallowed a piece of a splintered dog bone chew treat brought a putative class action in California federal court against chew treat company Dynamic Pet Products and its parent company Frick’s Quality Meats.

Khristie Reed and thousands of other dog owners watched their pets suffer, and in some cases die, after shards from Dynamic’s Real Ham Bone For Dogs injured dogs, despite the company’s claims that the bone is a perfectly safe chew toy for dogs.

Khristie bought a Real Ham Bone (a smoked femur bone from a hog) for her basset hound Fred, but by the next morning, he was vomiting and having severe diarrhea. And by the afternoon, he was bleeding out of his rectum and she rushed him to the vet. Unfortunately, by that time, there was not much the vet could do:

“He was put in intensive care and we were told he was so sick, the vet recommended we put him to sleep. I am never going to forgive myself for buying him that deadly treat.”

Following Fred’s death Khristie went on a campaign to warn consumers, and started a Facebook group Fight for Fred which has over 13,000 members and began a petition Fight For Fred which has already received nearly 14,000 signatures.

As she explains, Fred was not just a dog, but also a beloved member of the family:

“He has been a member of our family for the last 8 years. Fred passed away on March 2nd after ingesting The Real Ham Bone made by Dynamic Pets…The bone broke apart and splintered inside shredding his stomach and intestines. Fred is not the first dog this has happened to and our goal is to get justice for Fred by getting this product and others like it off the market so that others won’t have to endure the loss or injury to their beloved fur baby.”

Dynamic sells the bones online and in Big Box stores like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Dollar General since it began marketing the product in 2001 after Frick’s Meat Products created Dynamic as a way to market waste product from its human meat products.

In 2010, after complaints began to mount, Dynamic Pet Products was put under investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amid reports that numerous dogs had became seriously ill or died after eating the manufacturer’s treats.

Following the investigation, the FDA issued a general warning against all bones as chew toys. In it, the FDA warned consumers about the dangers associated with feeding bones, including rectal bleeding, intestinal blockage, and broken teeth were among the adverse outcomes linked to bones:

“Bones are unsafe no matter what their size. Giving your dog a bone may make your pet a candidate for a trip to your veterinarian’s office later, possible emergency surgery, or even death,” said Carmela Stamper, D.V.M., a veterinarian in the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration.

In a 2012 inspection report, an FDA investigator reported that David S. Frick, company president, told them that “due to complaints, he has looked into updating a label with more warnings and bolder statements.”

However, the larger, more prominent warnings have yet to materialize on the labels of their product. Instead, the company was careful to include an ominous warning, implying that the company is not liable for problems with their products – should the worst happen:

“Pet owner assumes liability with the use of this product or any other natural bone product”

assume liability dog bone warning

The complaint says that Frick and Dynamic’s continued marketing of the dog bones is in violation of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Business and Professions Code, as it misrepresents the product as a safe one. It also alleges that the company committed fraud, because, as it states:

“it had a duty to alert consumers to the dangers of the product and did not do so.”

The complaint also claims that Dynamic and Frick’s carried out a sinister program of pay-offs:

a “secret warranty program, paying off pet owners who persistently complained about their products to “keep them quiet.”

Despite mounting complaints, Dynamic’s president bluntly refuses to admit there is a problem with their product:

“We don’t think we have a problem.”

He likened the sale of the bones to the sales of toys “like bicycles, skateboards, and Legos.” The bones, like the toys, are safe when used properly, he said. And suggested that the only reason for the increased number of complaints was likely the result of “social media campaigns against the product and an increasing number of bones sold.”

The suit seeks damages, including punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees. It also seeks an injunction preventing the companies from continuing any unlawful practices, along with the awarding of the profits the two companies made from unethical practices to the plaintiffs involved.

Khristie Reed is represented by Timothy G. Blood, Leslie E. Hurst and Thomas J. O’Reardon II of Blood Hurst & O’Reardon LLP.

The case is Khristie Reed, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. Dynamic Pet Products and Frick’s Meat Products Inc., case number 3:15-cv-00987 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

SOURCE: http://www.law360.com/articles/651324/dog-chew-toy-makers-bit-with-class-action-over-pet-deaths

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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.

Comment (1) Write a comment

  1. In the complaint, the plaintiff discusses that the defendant Frick, created Dynamic as a means to recycle trash from the parent company. Hopefully, her dog Fred’s death will help bring public awareness to the realities about how (poisoned) pet foods and treats are made.

    Reply

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