Walmart, Menu Foods, Del Monte Sued Over Pet Food Debacle

A man whose dog’s death from kidney failure could be connected to the pet food recall has filed suit against Walmart, Menu Foods and Del Monte. The man is asking for class-action status. From SmartMoney:

Schwinger alleges that his dog Sandy, an otherwise healthy 2-year-old, had to be euthanized as a result of eating Menu Foods’ Ol’ Roy Pet Food and Del Monte’s Canine Carry-out Bacon Bite, which were purchased at a Wal-Mart store in Cassville.

Schwinger said Sandy’s health began declining in late February and early March but that he continued offering the dog the same food, unaware that it was contaminated.

Aw, that’s really sad. Schwinger’s lawsuit claims that the defendants “failed to prevent the distribution of tainted pet foods after the discovery of contaminated wheat gluten in their ingredients.” We don’t imagine this is going to be a fun lawsuit, but considering the scope of the contamination and the death toll involved, it was inevitable. —MEGHANN MARCO

Man Sues Wal-Mart Over Dog’s Death [SmartMoney]
(Photo: Movie Screen Shots)

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  1. timmus says:

    Ol’ Roy is closer to sawdust than anything… it’s amazing what people will feed their pets to save a nickel. Do a Google Groups search on the Usenet dog groups for Ol’ Roy; it’s not pretty.

  2. SirKeats says:

    agreed… while i’m fine with this lawsuit considering the circumstances involved that lead to the deaths of so many animals – a man who feeds his dog Ol’ Roy doesn’t, in my opinion, meet an acceptable level of care for his animal.

  3. bnet41 says:

    I’ve been waiting for these to start rolling in. This is going to be one big mess and will take a decade to get anywhere I bet. Several of the key players in this are foreign companies out of Canada and China, so that just adds complexity. It’ll be interesting to see how is shakes out.

    One thing I know that makes this even more interesting is the various state laws concerning what a pet is worth, and the liability for such things. It’ll be interesting to follow.

    All I know is something needs to be done about the pet food supply.

  4. B says:

    Was the food bought before or after the recall was announced? If it was before, I don’t think he has much of a case against Wal-Mart. Either way, I hope Menu Foods and Del Monte pay dearly for thier crimes.

  5. thrillhouse says:

    I do sympathize for his loss. But like timmus, I have to wonder how concerned you are about your dog’s health if you feeding it something called “Canine Carry-out Bacon Bite”.

    Still very sad. Glad all of this is coming to light.

  6. Trai_Dep says:

    Whoa. Thumb-wrestling match between the defendants to see who’s the least sympathetic on the planet? Shame for Wal-Mart & Menu Foods that they can’t somehow drag the RIAA into this for the ultimate finger-pointing jubilee.

  7. gorckat says:

    If it was purchased after the recall, I can’t imagine how they’ll prove Wal-Mart was negligent in carrying out the recall.

    I mean- has anything like this happened before :p

  8. mmcnary says:

    It’s not widely known, but Purina manufactures some Ol’ Roy dry dog food. They don’t use Purina recipes, but the food is made in the same plant as Dog Chow

  9. rbb says:

    Ol’ Roy is horrible stuff. I swear that stuff passes nearly intact from the intake end to the outtake.

    You can tell a quality pet food by the amount of poo your pet produces. The more they poo, the cheaper the dog food – i.e., it’s not very digestible.

  10. oldhat says:

    To all those who always jump on the “lawsuits are for the greedy” trip:

    Lawsuits can be the only way companies be held accountable.

    Our government is installing soulless zombies to regulate the companies, so what else can we do?

    Outside of vigilante violence, eat our losses and shut up, we take to the courts like civilized folk.

    Hit a company with a huge lawsuit and suddenly they return calls and make amends. Maybe. Worth a try.

  11. kerry says:

    He may not have been feeding his dog the finest of foods, but it’s still labeled as dog food, and is expected to be at least safe, if not super nutritious. The people who let the tainted food continue to be sold after knowing that there was a problem, without issuing a recall, need to be hog-tied and strung up for a public flogging. Kudos to this guy for being first in line.

  12. Canadian Impostor says:

    @kerry: I agree. While I feed my cat only all natural super premium foods, I would at least expect cheaper food to not kill him.

    Some people live on a tight budget, and may not have the money for expensive pet food. Cheap pet food shouldn’t kill pets.

  13. catnapped says:

    @oldhat: No doubt you’re still going to see at least a few screeches of “Frivolous lawsuit!!!!! It’s just a dog–time for him to get over it!!!”

  14. quantum-shaman says:

    @catnapped: It’s not frivolous, but unfortunately it’s probably not going to be very effective for a couple of reasons. First, the manufacturer didn’t know about the melamine because those nasty-assed Chinese snuck it into the a component product.

    Second, dogs are property. And as much as you love them, the dollar value for them is very low. It will cost at least 10X the value of the dog and all the food you ever fed it, just to pay the laywers to pursue this case. You can’t collect punitive damages on emotional pain and suffering because your dog died.

  15. bean says:

    The laws of most states value pets as property, and only allow a replacement value without any “pain and suffering” compensation. I read a good article about this: http://www.sddt.com/News/article.cfm?SourceCode=20070430cr

  16. markwm says:

    @thrillhouse: Actually, I and my wife are pretty damned concerned about our dog’s health, thank you much. Canine Carryouts are one of the few dog treats our dog will eat, and he gets one every morning after he takes his glucosamine and allergy pills.

    As far as the Ol’ Roy, I personally would probably never feed it to my dog, but I know plenty of people who feed it to their pets and love their pets very much. They’re very fond of their pets, and buy it for the same reason they buy the off-brand people food. They assume that it is similar to the the name-brand stuff, just at a lesser price, same as buying the bags of Malt-O-Meal or store-brand cereal.

  17. Buran says:

    @quantum-shaman: They knew for a month that there was a problem and did nothing. Additionally, they had opportunity to test the ingredient before using it in their food, and I’m sure a good lawyer would argue that.

    Furthermore, Wal-Mart negligently placed recalled food back on shelves even after the recall was announced! They knew that it was lethal and still deliberately restored it to shelves in violation of both recall and ethics.

  18. asherchang says:

    hopefully this will spur Wal-Mart on to totally revamp its broken recall system.

  19. rhombopteryx says:

    @quantum-shaman:

    True enough about pets usually just valed as property, but damages can also be measured in the cost of all the food purchased that wasn’t really food. 10 bags of $30 food (that was really poison) times 10k people, that’s $$$$.

  20. fatal616 says:

    He is not going to win that one. As soon as anything is recalled the system blocks the sales so if it is scanned the register will prompt it as being “unable to sell” We do not even know it has been recalled when the system blocks it which upsets a lot of customers because they complain “well why is it on the shelf still” MAYBE because it was just recalled within that hour? Sorry we don’t have recall police checking items every 5 seconds.

    I also agree with the comments about the dog food. Pretty much any dog food from Walmart is bad for your pet. Better off feeding your pet veggie/rice mix. Maybe they will live 26 years like that one veg dog.