Settlement from lawsuit yields less than satisfactory result for claimants in largest pet food recall
flickr photo by EraPhernalia Vintage
Many pet owners feel slighted, even "extremely ripped off," after the settlement that they spent years waiting for — one that stems from the biggest pet food recall in history — was finally doled out.
Some of the most recognizable names in the pet food industry were included in the 2007 pet food recall which stemmed from tainted rice protein and wheat gluten concentrate — ingredients that were adulterated to bump up the protein levels by being tainted with melamine and cyanuric acid.
The combination of the two chemicals forms crystals in the kidneys, potentially leading to renal disease and failure.
The recall was issued after sadly, tens of thousands of companion animals ate food contaminated with the ingredients.
In total, $12,357,277 was paid on 20,229 claims from the United States and Canada. A total of $27,793,975.36 in claims was judged eligible for compensation. The collective payout amounting to roughly 45 cents on the dollar was paid.
The settlement agreement set limits on payments in specific categories. Eligible, but undocumented, claims were capped, as were reimbursements for screening and testing of animals that ate tainted food but proved not to be ill, as well as payments for pet food expenses.
Most claims were reduced pro rata because the fund wasn't big enough to pay all approved claims in full, felt as a slap in the face to some pet owners who filed claims.
Elise Maitland of Ontario is one of those claimants who doesn't feel happy with the result of the process. Her dog, Michigan, eventually succumbed to the effects of ingesting tainted food. He died several months later.
“I don’t feel like I got anything out of this,” she said. “I feel like it was a four-year wait, and I think we all got ripped off.”
A portion of the fund went to lawyers’ fees and expenses, claims administration and public notices.
Since the debacle, consumers seem to be more vigilant about the pet food that they buy, even spurring a large push toward an organic, raw diet for their pets.
Click here to read more about the details of the settlement.
Were you affected by the pet food recall? How has it affected the way that you feed your pets?
Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger for AnnArbor.com and has written about pet food recalls and raw diets for pets. Catch her daily dog walking and pet sitting adventures or email her directly.