Sergeant’s faces lawsuit over indigestible dog treats, claims Pur Luv treats are dangerous

Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, maker of Sentry Pur Luv dog treats, is facing a lawsuit that claims the treats are harmful and potentially deadly for pets.

Ryan Bietsch, Bryan Schneider and Michael Pfortmiller filed the lawsuit on June 19 in United States District Court in Illinois against Sergeant’s, claiming its line of Pur Luv pet treats are dangerous for dogs.

Rock-hard chunks

The lawsuit said some of the parts of the semi-soft dog treats are indigestible, don’t dissolve or break down after dogs eat them, and instead form into “rock-hard chunks” that can obstruct a pet’s bowel causing serious injuries including death.

All three said, after their dogs consumed the treats, the dogs developed serious health problems, requiring extensive veterinary care. While Schneider’s dog, Tank, and Pfortmiller’s dog, Ginger, recovered after passing “a large chunk of red material, identical to the center of the treats,” Bietsch alleges his dog, Wrigley, required surgery, but still died.

All three say that their pets’ veterinarians linked the dogs’ health problems to the Pur Luv treats.

Tests prove allegations

To prove their allegations, they enlisted the help of Kelly Swanson, professor of animal and nutrition sciences at the University of Illinois Department of Animal Sciences, to study the treats. Because, in order for the treats to be safe, they must be partially or completely digested in the gastric and intestinal phases to avoid gastrointestinal blockage.

To find out whether dog’s can digest the treats, a safe and effective method to test for these characteristics without risking the dog’s health is through an in vitro (in glass) assay technique. The test mimics the pet’s digestive processes by simulating the gastric and small intestinal conditions.

Swanson’s test demonstrated the treats do not properly dissolve when exposed to gastric acids, such as those present in a dog’s stomach.

The test found that after six hours, while the treats that were immersed in the simulated contents of a dog’s stomach, 80% of the Pur Luv treat remained undigested and after 18 hours, 40% of the treat remained undigested.

The seven-count complaint against Sergeant’s includes allegations of violations of federal law and state consumer fraud laws in Illinois and Kentucky, as well as breaches of implied and express warranties.

The suit is seeking class status for those who purchased the dog treat brand, and is also seeking more than $5 million in damages plus court costs.

This is not the first time that Sergeant’s has faced a lawsuit over Sentry’s indigestible Pur Luv dog treats, a previous complaint was filed in 2013 by the same law firm that is representing the current plaintiffs, Joseph Siprut in Duran v. Sergeant’s Pet Care Products Inc., et al., Case No. 1:2013cv00762 U.S. Dist. Ct., N.D. Ill.

Source: United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois-Eastern Division case number 1:15-cv-05432

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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.

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