The lawsuit charges that the dog food was made using animals that have been euthanized.
“The dog food definitely tested positive for pentobarbital,” says attorney Jane Braugh from the firm of Sico, Hoelscher, Harris & Braugh in Pasadena, California.
“From our research it shows that Evanger’s was buying dead carcasses that had likely been put to sleep by vets and mixed in with that would supposedly be organic meats and vegetables. So that is how the dog food became tainted,” says Braugh who is the attorney for the lead plaintiffs and other members of the class.
The class action documents, filed in Los Angeles County Court, claim Party Animal Inc., in collaboration with Evanger’s, “sold canned pet food that contains substances that are toxic to animals and have resulted in the serious illnesses or deaths of animal around the United States.”
It further alleges that “Party Animal is mislabeled as organic and mislabeled as to its healthy ingredients such as fruits and vegetables and simply does not contain the wholesome substances it purports to contain.”
“The FDA has regulations on what can and can’t be added to dog food and the labelling and that is part of the case as well. We just don’t believe from our initial investigation that the labelling is appropriate and accurate. They are selling this as healthful dog food and it is making animals sick,” says Braugh.
In December of 2016, in San Antonia, Texas Wendy Black, the lead plaintiff in the case, agreed to foster a little Schnauzer called Bianca. Black had the dog groomed and took her to the vet for a full checkup. She had some tumours removed and had some dental work done. Bianca was good to go – blood sugar levels were normal and no sign of diabetes.
Black bought six cans of “Cocolicious” Party Animal organic dog food – three cans of Chicken/Beef and 3 cans Beef/Turkey for Bianca and began feeding it to her.
By the beginning of February 2017 the dog was lethargic, slept all the time and didn’t even want to stand up. On February 3 Black took the dog to the vet. Bianca was shivering, throwing up, defecating, sweating and panting, dizzy and weak and refusing to eat.
There was concern the dog might die. The vet put her on intravenous fluids and by the end of the day Bianca managed to eat a bit of Royal Canine canned dog food. She had another round of intravenous fluids and improved.
Over the next month Black noticed Bianca was on roller coaster. The dog’s condition seemed to coincide with the type of food she ate. She would be sick for few days. Black would switch the food and she got better.
By March 2, the dog was again in serious distress. Her vomit smelled extremely foul and she defecated non-stop. They went back to the vet. The dog’s blood sugar levels were elevated and she was diabetic. Black now had bills totaling over $1,500 related to Bianca’s health.
Black began to suspect Party Animal dog food was the problem. She stopped feeding Party Animal to Bianca.
She contacted the Pet store and arranged for a Texas A&M lab to test the Party Animal canned food she had on hand.
Bianca is now an energetic normal little dog. However, Black alleges the dog’s diabetic issues are due to internal damage suffered as a result of eating Party Animal.
Party Animal, in a statement on its website, says it has recalled the lots in question and have subsequently tested other lots as well. It is also in discussions about its manufacturing process with its supplier Evanger’s Cat and Dog Food. The company also says, “The safety of pets is and always will be our first priority. We sincerely regret the reports of the discomfort experienced by the pet who consumed this food. As pet parents ourselves, we take this matter seriously.”
The lawsuit has eight causes of action including Breach of Express Warranty, Breach of Implied Warranty, Negligence, Negligent Misrepresentation, Strict Product Liability, Violation of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, Violation of Unfair Competition Law and violation of False Advertising Law.
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It also asks that ingredients be clearly stated on the can and that no euthanized animals be used in the production of dog food.
The class action has yet to be certified.
Party Animal Recall includes:
13-ounce-can Cocolicious Beef & Turkey dog food (Lot #0136E15204 04, best by July 2019) and 13-ounce-can Cocolicious Chicken & Beef dog food (Lot #0134E15 237 13, best by August 2019)