Steve Smith and Debi Arthur are wondering how many pets have to die from tainted treats before the product is pulled from the shelves. They believe that a product called Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky Dog Treats, purchased last fall at the Shoprite in the town of Ulster, caused the death of their Chihuahua, Lacy. They suspected the treats because after Lacy was gone, they gave the remaining treats to their daughter’s dog, who also became ill.
The treats, which are manufactured by Del Monte, have been the subject of numerous FDA warnings since 2007, and the Web is full of pet-owners with similar tragic tales. The FDA has said it hasn’t found enough contaminants to order a recall.
Another dog treat, Ralston Purina Wagon Train brand, has also been the source of recent complaints.
Irate with the lack of action by the FDA and lack of help from Del Monte, Smith and Arthur held a “Lacy Day – We Won’t Get Fooled Again protest” on April 1, April Fools’ Day. The couple protested at local supermarkets and asked folks to sign a petition asking for the items to be recalled. They got 362 signatures.
This past weekend, Smith and Arthur stationed themselves outside the Walmart and Target stores in Kingston handing out leaflets explaining the problems with the dog treats and urging people to stop buying the product.
“A number of people said they saw the original story in the Saugerties Times and wished us good luck and expressed their sympathy for losing Lacy,” Smith said.
The couple had warning labels printed up, and they’ve taken to surreptitiously pasting them onto products on store shelves.
“I guess it’s a vigilante thing,” Smith said. “But something needs to be done to protect the pets. Companies are hiding behind the FDA to continue to sell this stuff.”
“We believe there are economic and political reasons behind this,” Smith added.
The couple say they don’t have the money to sue over the issue. But they have reason to believe their crusade is gaining momentum: a Facebook page called Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made In China has gone from 100 members in December to over 4,000 today.
As for Smith and Arthur, they will continue to fight the good fight outside area stores that carry the product, and paste their warning labels.
Two months ago, they visited a breeder in Queens and came home with a two-month old longhaired Chihuahua they named Macy, who will not be getting any doggy treats made with products that have been imported from China.