Appeals Could Stall Contaminated Pet Food Settlement

March 2007 case involved more than 180 brands of pet foods and treats.

Posted: Jan. 20, 2009, 3 a.m. EST

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Compensation payments for pet owners affected by 2007’s pet-food recall may be delayed due to appeals filed against a $24 million settlement agreed upon by companies that manufactured and dealt the contaminated food.

More than 23,000 U.S. pet owners have asked to receive compensation in the settlement, and those with approved claims were to start receiving checks this year. However, two appeals were filed in December 2008. According to the case’s claims administrator website, that means the payment of claims will be postponed.

“No payments may be made on eligible claims until all appeals are resolved,” the website states. “It is uncertain how long these appeals will take to resolve, and the timing of resolving the appeals is not within the control of the parties or their counsel. It is not uncommon for appeals to take several months or even years to resolve.”

The case began in March 2007 when Menu Foods, of Ontario, Canada, recalled more than 50 brands of dog food and more than 40 brands of cat food after a number of pets became sick. Several other companies soon followed suit. The recall eventually covered approximately 180 brands of pet food and treats produced by 12 different manufacturers and distributed, marketed and sold to dozens of retailers.

Wheat gluten and rice-protein concentrate imported from China were found to have been contaminated with melamine, an industrial chemical used to make plastic, and cyanuric acid — the combination of which can lead to acute renal failure in small animals.

Menu Foods and other companies involved in the recall agreed to pay up to $24 million in a settlement, which was approved by a federal judge in October 2008. Canadian courts approved the settlement in November.

The settlement agreement creates a fund that will allow a potential recovery of up to 100 percent of economic damages incurred by pet owners. Pet owners can receive up to $900 for undocumented claims.

One of the appeals to the settlement concerns alleged mislabeling of pet food as “Made in the USA.” The other regards the fairness and adequacy of the settlement, among other arguments. Details were not immediately available.

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Reader Comments

gelena    mckenzie, TN

4/21/2011 9:24:33 AM

My cat became ill after eating food on the recall list, got letter back yesterday stating my claim would not be paid because the food was purchased prior to Nov. 8, 2006 looking online I find many people with this same problem the food was on their own recall list, vet bills provided state this is what caused my cats death. He was only 3, a himalayin and he died from renal failure which is almost unheard of in cats under age of 7. This is just another heart breaking ordeal, truly heart breaking.

---    ---, CA

10/7/2010 1:10:01 PM

I just called the 1-800-392-7785 and it states they are still waiting for the court to decide on the 2 appeals that were filed. I thought there were 4 until now. I hope they hurry up. Why don't they just read the docs already and process it to support all of the greiving pet owners/guardians already? Many of us relied on their support, compensation, and still didn't get it...Oh, well...:)

Troy    Cape Cod, MA

5/30/2010 2:09:18 PM

Our sweet cat, Eva, went into renal failure as a result of eating this tainted food. At first we were unsure what was happening to her and racked up a huge vet bill stabilizing her, two overnight pet hospital stays, numerous tests. It was eventually determined that she was in total renal failure. From that point on my husband and I gave her daily fluid treatments. About a month later the news about the tainted food began to be broadcast. I had been feeding her a new kidney safe diet, but has not thrown away her old food, so I decided to look the serial numbers of each can up on the internet...and sure enough they were part of the Iams pet food recall. I felt so guilty that I had caused her illness, that something that I had fed to her had destroyed her kidneys. I cried for days and days, and then I got really angry. Because of her daily treatments she was able to have a great last few years until her death last week. We miss her so much. Three years have passed without any gesture of kindness, or a penny to pet owners like us who have dealt with the wrenching grief and huge expense that this tainted food has caused. I am so angry at the greedy people involved in this mess, from the beginning of the problem up until the present day...more than three years later. My sweet girl was a fighter, and I am grateful to have had the resources to care for her in the way we did. The people involved in this mess should truly be ashamed of themselves. There is a special place in hell for people like them. My heart goes out to all of the people whose pets dies right away from the tainted food. You should be singled out, personally apologized to, and generously compensated...and right away!!!!

Bernadette    Reston, VA

12/26/2009 12:53:19 PM

I want closure, closure and closure now....we who lost pets should not have to wait for a settlement this long, going on 3 years, all because of 2 people appealing. Give us our money now and stop this madness. The lawyers are getting richer by the day and we who lost pets are STILL GRIEVING.
They are stalling because the attorneys' want more money in their pockets, and don't you think the people who lost their animals enough toture for them, now we have to wait for appeals which is totally unfair, we animal owners should FIGHT BACK for what is owed to us, we shouldn't have to wait so long for compensation of our beloved animals.
Lets take this to the next level pet lovers.

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