Man Blames Dog's Death on Jerky Treats

FDA said it has received hundreds reports of dogs being poisoned by treats since 2007

By Michelle Relerford
|  Thursday, Apr 19, 2012  |  Updated 10:33 PM CDT
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Dog owner Dennis Adkins was left heartbroken after his dog Cleo, a nine-year-old female Pomeranian, died of kidney failure last month. A spokesperson for the Waggin' Train brand of treats maintains the snacks

Dog owner Dennis Adkins was left heartbroken after his dog Cleo, a nine-year-old female Pomeranian, died of kidney failure last month. A spokesperson for the Waggin' Train brand of treats maintains the snacks "are safe to feed as directed."

Update: Lawsuit filed...

A Homer Glen man says his dog was in perfect health until he fed her a certain brand of dog treats, and he's calling on the Food and Drug Administration to take another look at the products.

"Nobody should go through what my dog went through," Dennis Adkins said through tears on Tuesday. "This product should not be on the shelf. If it can even harm one dog, why is it on the shelf?"

Adkins said his 9-year-old Pomeranian, Cleo, had her first Waggin' Train-brand chicken jerky dog treat on March 13. She died 13 days later of kidney failure, he said.

His story isn't isolated. The FDA said it has received hundreds reports of dogs being poisoned by treats since 2007.

A November 2011 report on MSNBC.com reported several brands of chicken jerky pet treats imported from China were possibly linked to kidney failure and other serious ailments.

But, the report added: 

FDA officials say they have not been able to find a cause for the illnesses. Extensive chemical and microbiological testing has failed to turn up a specific contaminant and officials did not identify a specific brand of treats. They note that the reports of illness have not conclusively been tied to chicken jerky products, also sold as chicken tenders, chicken strips or chicken treats. 

A spokesperson for the Waggin' Train brand of treats maintains the snacks "are safe to feed as directed."

"The safety of our products and pets which consume them are our top priority," the spokesperson said, reiterating the FDA's statement that no contaminant has been found.

The back of the packaging on the treats Adkins fed Cleo lists feeding instructions indicating a dog Cleo's size should receive no more than two treats a day. Adkins said he fed his dog two to three treats a day.

"If you feed one treat and you say, 'Well, it's not going to kill my dog, if I feed two treats it's going to kill my dog,' I wouldn't want to eat anything that potentially could kill me," said Dr. Joe DeMoor, the veterinarian who treated Cloe.

Adkins said he's been in touch with the company behind the Waggin' Train brand and has been told he would receive compensation. He said he also will file an insurance product claim with Walmart, where he bought the treats.

Still, he said his case isn't about the money. He said the FDA is "broken" and said he wants the products pulled from shelves.

"It makes me mad. It upsets me because somebody else is going to fall into this, just like I did. There's no reason why my dog should be dead," he said. 

The FDA maintains a section on its website with instructions on how to report a pet food complaint. Adkins has created a Facebook page to share news about his case.

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