Update: Thaxton family nightmare after dogs poisoned by jerky treats continues

The tragic story of one family’s nightmare when both of their dogs, Chansey and Penny, poisoned after eating chicken jerky dog treats, did not end after their story aired on television.

The family continues to struggle with the aftermath of the death of their pug Chansey, while their little puppy Penny, a five-month old Pixie, remains gravely ill despite veterinarian’s efforts to save her from the same disease caused by an as yet unknown lethal toxin that killed Chansey. One thing is known for certain and that is they both were fed the very same treats: Waggin Train jerky dog treats.Chansey pug Candace Thaxton Waggin Train jerky treats toxic poisoned killed

After the story about the Thaxton family was published here, Candace Thaxton wrote me. What she told me was utterly heartbreaking and with her kind permission, I am sharing her story with you.

Candace Thaxton’s family couldn’t have imagined that shortly after the death of her father and faced with an illness of her own requiring surgery their lives would be further complicated by the tragic poisoning of the family’s two beloved dogs.

It all started when her father passed away; Candace offered to care for her father’s dog Molly while Candace’s mother grieved the death of her husband. While wanting to comfort his dog Molly with a treat, the family purchased a package of Waggin Train jerky treats. Molly didn’t like them, so they fed them to their dog Chansey instead. Soon, Chesney became very ill. Worried, the family rushed Chansey to the hospital. Within 48 hours Chansey was dead. So ill, she had to be put to sleep.

When the vet told Candace Chansey was in complete kidney failure and would require an immediate kidney transplant, knowing they would be unable to afford such a procedure, they had no choice but make the heartbreaking decision to have Chansey euthanized. She died November 14, 2011, only two days after being hospitalized.chansey pug poisoned by waggin train jerky treats for dogs candace thaxton

Devastated, Thaxton family friends Lee and Shelly Meister bestowed them with the gift of a Pixie puppy a week after Chansey was put to rest. They named their sweet new puppy Penny. With one blue eye and one brown eye, each eye with different colored eyelashes and small enough to fit in a teacup, the family fell in love with little Penny.

But what Candace didn’t know was the very same disease would strike Penny, because Penny was fed a few treats from the same bag that Chansey was fed from. And within a matter of days, Penny would be rushed to the hospital suffering from kidney failure.

That was when Candace knew there was something very wrong. One week after Chansey died Candace explained that, “on December 31st I saw the FDA warning and the bells went off.  I took the bag and the treats with the FDA warning to our vet at the Center West Animal Hospital and three days later he called and told me that he believes that I was right, as everything written in the FDA report fit Chansey’s symptoms. I told him that Penny had eaten the treats as well but wasn’t having any symptoms.  I had quit feeding them as soon as I saw the FDA warning. “

That same evening Candace called Waggin Train. But Candace was in for an even bigger shock when, incredibly, Waggin Train told her that her dog’s death might have been “my fault because I must have fed her a larger than the recommended amount of the treat“. To add insult to injury, she was then told that the “value” of her pug Chansey would be “downgraded” because of the dog’s age.  As Candace told me, “it was as if they were talking about a used car” not her beloved pug Chansey.

Two nights later, Penny was throwing up.  Candace’s husband rushed Penny to the hospital and by the end of the day they called to tell her the devastating news: Penny had the same problem as their pug Chansey. Penny was then transferred to an urgent care facility where she would require 24-hour care.Penny the sick little puppy poisoned by waggin train jerky treats candace thaxton

Penny prognosis is guarded, and as of this writing her future is uncertain.

Yet, despite the veterinary hospital’s opinion, Waggin Train insisted that there could have been a number of reasons that both of her dogs became seriously ill. And they offered to pay the family “a small amount” for both dogs and a lesser amount for Chansey because, she was told, “her value was down” as she was 10 years old.

It should be emphasized that both dogs ate different dog foods and that the only thing they had in common was one bag of Waggin Train brand chicken jerky treats.

With all of this, the Thaxton family is struggling to pay the veterinary bills, which are well in excess of $4,000.

Special note: Donations for the Thaxton family’s veterinary expenses would be gratefully accepted and appreciated. To do so, please contact Candace directly on her Facebook page or write to me and I can give you her address and phone number.  If we all help in some small way we can all make a big difference in someone’s life.

Complain loudly and often to Consumer Affairs Waggin Train Treats Consumer Complaints
Take action and Sign the petition to ban all poisonous chicken jerky treats imported from China
Send your prayers for little Penny to Candace Thaxton’s Facebook page
Stay informed, read the latest FDA Consumer Update for jerky treats
View the most recent Thaxton family story on Channel 19 

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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.