Couple continues crusade against tainted dog treats

Debi Arthur and Steve Smith (photo by Will Dendis)

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.





There are 7 comments

  1. Mollie Morrissette

    They are the unsung heroes for pets.

    I support their efforts 100%, as do thousands of other pet parents who fighting for answers and action from the Federal government and the pet food manufacturers.

    Boycott Nestle, Purina, DelMonte, and all the other manufacturers who continue to import unsafe products from China.

    God bless them.

  2. Carol Mariani

    Good luck to these people. I am very sorry for their loss. I have been a member of Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China since its inception. I am one of the lucky ones who has not lost a dog to these corporations who will sell their souls for a dollar. I read all labels and my dogs and cats do not eat anything, eat out of anything or play with anything made in China. There are many alternatives made in the USA, which, as a bonus, will keep jobs in this country. There is beginning to be a lot of foods on shelves for human consumption that are Made in China. READ LABELS / BUYER BEWARE

    Sincerely, Carol Mariani, Dover, NJ

  3. Ronnie

    I support your cause 100 percent speaking from a pet owner of a Boston terrier who died from these so called treats – they should be banned

  4. Darlene

    I have a home made jerky treat that I now sell in my store and on line. The dog treats are made with minimal ingredients and NO preservatives or additives. The lamb meat comes from sheep I raise on my farm so I know exactly what they were fed and how well they were treated.
    The jerky treats are made with ground lamb and Florida grown sweet potatoes or ground lamb and organic pumpkin…..NO OTHER INGREDIENTS.
    I also make a beef stew jerky from ground beef (grass fed cows from Florida), red potatoes, grated carrots, sweet baby peas and carrot juice.
    Check it out online at

  5. Ken

    If you’re looking for SAFE, Real ‘American Made’ chicken jerky for dogs or cats, we started making our own Chicken Jerky for our 3 dogs after we ran across the FDA warning of 2008 about Chinese chicken treats making dogs sick or killing them. It turned into a cottage “Mom & Pop” business and we now sell our TriPom Chews online and in 20 stores in the New England area. Our products are the only homemade, handmade, ‘Maine Made’, ‘American Made’ Chicken Jerky produced from whole, restaurant-quality chicken breasts containing NO Additives and NO Preservatives. Our 3 Pomeranians (our babies!) taste test every batch for quality.

  6. Robin

    I think its wonderful they have a message to share but should do it the right way and not go into stores and put stickers all over items!!

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