2015 Dog Treat Products Settlement Information


 

This was the official site created to alert consumers of a 2015 Dog Treat Products Settlement after the FDA issued an import alert for chicken jerky-type pet treats made in China because of the presence of antibiotic residue after tests detected amantadine, an antiviral medication.
Content is from the site's 2014-2015 archived pages.

NOTICE:

This website provides a summary of the Settlement and is provided for informational purposes only. In the event of any discrepancy between the text of this website and the original text upon which it is based, the text of the original document shall prevail.

 

Dog Treat Products Settlement
Adkins et al. v. Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, et al., Case No. 1:12-cv-02871 (N.D. Ill.);
Matin v. Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, et al., Case No. 1:13-cv-01512 (N.D. Ill.);
Gandara v. Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, et al., Case No. 1:13-cv-04159 (N.D. Ill.)

IF YOU PURCHASED OR YOUR PET(S) USED OR CONSUMED WAGGIN’ TRAIN OR CANYON CREEK RANCH DOG TREAT PRODUCT(S), PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. THIS WEBSITE IS TO INFORM YOU OF A PROPOSED SETTLEMENT THAT MAY AFFECT YOUR RIGHTS.

YOU MAY BENEFIT FROM READING THIS WEBSITE. IF YOU WISH TO RECEIVE BENEFITS UNDER THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT, YOU MUST SUBMIT A CLAIM FORM

 

Case Background

A Settlement has been reached in class action lawsuits claiming that Waggin’ Train or Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treat products imported from or containing ingredients imported from China (“Dog Treat Products”) were defective and that some pets may have become sick and/or died after consuming the products. A list of the Dog Treat Products can be found here. Defendants Nestlé Purina PetCare Company and Waggin’ Train, LLC have denied any wrongdoing. The Court has not decided which side is right.

Defendants have agreed to create a $6,500,000.00 cash Settlement Fund from which eligible consumers and/or pet owners may receive a cash payment for up to 100% of certain documented economic damages related to their purchase of or their pet’s consumption of the Dog Treat Products, after the payment from the Settlement Fund of the costs of notice and Claims Administration, attorneys’ fees, Class Representative awards, costs, and taxes. Economic damage means the expenses you incurred related to your purchase or your pet’s consumption of the Dog Treat Products, and include veterinary screening or treatment bills and other expenses related to your pet’s illness and/or death.

For each of your pets that used or consumed Dog Treat Products, you may recover up to 100% of certain reasonable economic damages you claim you suffered if you can provide documentation showing the economic damage.

In addition to compensation for expenses supported by documentation, you may also receive up to a $300 payment per pet for reasonable economic damages for which you do not have supporting documentation. You must still complete a Claim Form and provide information about your economic damages to be eligible for payment of your undocumented expenses.

The total amount available for product reimbursement is $700,000, and the total amount available for healthy screenings is $100,000. Reimbursement of Claims may be subject to certain pro rata reductions and other limitations described on this website.

SUMMARY OF CLASS MEMBERS’ RIGHTS AND OPTIONS UNDER THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
SUBMIT A CLAIM The only way to get a payment. Submit your Claim Form by mail, facsimile or email (.pdf) to the Claims Administrator no later than April 1, 2015.
EXCLUDE YOURSELF Get no payment. This is the only option that allows you to not be bound by the final judgment and release and to be part of any other lawsuit concerning the issues being settled now. You must exclude yourself from the Settlement Class by no later than February 10, 2015.
COMMENT ON THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT Write to the Court about why you support or oppose the proposed Settlement. If you want to object to the Settlement, you must do so in writing by May 25, 2015. Filing an objection does not exclude you from the Settlement.
GO TO THE FINAL APPROVAL HEARING Ask to speak to the Court about the proposed Settlement at the Final Approval Hearing, scheduled for June 23, 2015 (date subject to change).
DO NOTHING Get no payment. You will not be able to bring or be part of any other lawsuit concerning the issues being settled now, and you will be bound by the final judgment and release in this case.

 

If you would like further information about the claims asserted in this case, you can review a copy of the Settlement Agreement here.

NOTICE: This website provides a summary of the Settlement and is provided for informational purposes only. In the event of any discrepancy between the text of this website and the original text upon which it is based, the text of the original document shall prevail.

 

Important Dates

  • February 10, 2015
    Deadline to request exclusion (“opt-out”) from the Settlement
  • April 1, 2015
    Deadline to submit a claim
  • May 25, 2015
    Deadline to comment on the Settlement
  • June 23, 2015
    Final Approval Hearing and
    Final Approval Granted
  • December 10, 2015
    Appeal Dismissed

 



 

FAQ

 

DISBURSEMENT INFORMATION

  1. Will I receive more than one check?

    For individuals who submitted more than one Claim, Awards were rolled up into a single check.

  2. How was my award calculated?

    The Court appointed a Claims Administrator to determine whether a claim was reasonable, valid, and payable from the Settlement Fund based on the information provided with the Claim Form. We, the Claims Administrator, are a neutral party, not affiliated with either Plaintiffs or Defendants.

    Settlement payments were calculated according to the court approved methodology set forth in Section II the Settlement Agreement.

    Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, the Claims Administrator had complete and final authority to determine the amount to be paid on each Claim, and such decisions are final, binding, and cannot be appealed.

  3. Can I dispute my award?

    The amount you were awarded represents what you were entitled under the terms of the Settlement Agreement. Pursuant to the court approved Settlement Agreement, this determination is final, binding, and not subject to appeal.

  4. Can I file a late claim or additional documents?

    The deadline to submit a Claim Form was April 1, 2015. We are unfortunately no longer able to accept claims or additional documentation.

  5. For how long is my Settlement Check valid?

    Settlement Checks are valid for 60 days from their issue date. Checks that were issued on March 18, 2016 will be valid through May 17, 2016.

  6. Can you update my address and re-mail my settlement check?

    To request a replacement check mailed to you at an updated address, please mail a signed, written request asking that a replacement check be reissued and mailed to you. Please also indicate your current and former mailing addresses. Mail your check with request to:

    Dog Treat Products Settlement Claims Administrator
    PO Box 4178
    Portland, OR 97208-4178

    Please note that your request must be submitted prior to the stale date of your check. Also, unless your check is returned to us, the reissue process may take up to 60 days to complete.

  7. My settlement check was lost or damaged. Can I get another check?

    If your settlement check was damaged or lost, but is not yet stale, you may request that a replacement check be mailed to you. To do so, please return your damaged check to us with a signed, written request asking that a replacement check be issued and mailed to you. Please mail your check and request to the Settlement Administrator at the following address:

    Dog Treat Products Settlement Claims Administrator
    PO Box 4178
    Portland, OR 97208-4178

    Please note that your request must be submitted prior to the stale date of your check. Also, unless your check is returned to us, the reissue process may take up to 60 days to complete.

  8. Can I have my check reissued under a new name (e.g. last name change)?

    If your name was misspelt or you have since changed your name, and your check is still valid, we may reissue your check with your corrected name. To do so, please return your check and provide a signed, written request to change your name. Please also include documentation that confirms your correct name. For a misspelt name, please include a copy of a government issued photo ID. If you legally changed your name, please include a copy of the court order approving your name change.

    Please mail your request, copy of documentation, and the original check to the following address:

    Dog Treat Products Settlement Claims Administrator
    PO Box 4178
    Portland, OR 97208-4178

    If you are unable to return the original check to us, your check reissue may take up to 60 days.

  9. What do I do if the person on the check is deceased?

    A settlement check issued to a person that is now deceased will require the endorsement of an authorized representative of the decedent. That individual will need to provide a copy of their respective proof of legal authority to the financial institute when cashing the check at. Such documents might include a probated will appointing them as executor of estate, letters testamentary, a small estate affidavit, and similar legal documentation.

GENERAL INFORMATION

  1. Why Did I Get This Notice?

    You received a notice because: you requested a copy of the notice through a toll-free number; you downloaded it through this website; or you were identified as having purchased the Dog Treat Products based on a review of the Parties’ records.

  2. What Are The Lawsuits About?

    Several lawsuits were filed against Defendants Nestlé Purina PetCare Company (“Nestlé Purina”) and Waggin’ Train, LLC (“Waggin’ Train”). Among other things, Plaintiffs allege in the lawsuits that the Dog Treat Products were defective and may have caused pets to become ill or die. By agreeing to the proposed Settlement described in the notice, Defendants make no admission as to the truth of these allegations, and they deny any wrongdoing.

  3. Why Is This A Class Action?

    In a class action, one or more people called “class representatives” sue on behalf of themselves and other people who have similar claims. The people together are a “class” or “class members.” A court must determine if a lawsuit or a settlement should proceed as a class action. If it does proceed as a class action, there may be a trial. A trial then decides the lawsuit for everyone in the class. Sometimes, the Parties may settle without a trial.

  4. The Parties here have agreed to this Settlement that includes pet owners who purchased, used or obtained, or whose pets used or consumed the Dog Treat Products. The Court has preliminarily approved this proposed Settlement and will hold a hearing to decide whether it should be finally approved. U.S. District Court Judge Robert W. Gettleman is the presiding judge in the Actions.

  5. How Do I Know If I Am Included In The Proposed Class Action Settlement?

    You are a member of the Settlement Class if you purchased or obtained, or your pets used or consumed Waggin’ Train or Canyon Creek Ranch brand Dog Treat Product(s) imported from China or containing any ingredient imported from China.

    You need not do anything to become part of the Class, but you must complete the Claim Form in order to be eligible to receive any compensation from the Settlement.

    As a Settlement Class Member, you will be bound by all proceedings, orders, and judgments entered in connection with the proposed Settlement and Settlement Agreement, including the release, covenant not to sue, and dismissal with prejudice described on this website.

  6. How Do I Determine If The Dog Treat Product I Purchased And/Or Which Was Consumed Or Used By My Pet Is Part Of The Proposed Settlement?

    A list of the Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek brand Dog Treat Products at issue in this Settlement, as well as other information regarding the Settlement Agreement. You also may request a copy of the list by calling or writing to the Claims Administrator. Contact information for the Claims Administrator is provided.

  7. What Does The Proposed Settlement Provide?

    Monetary Benefits to Class Members

    The proposed Settlement provides for the creation of a $6,500,000 Settlement Fund from which eligible consumers may receive up to a 100% cash payment for documented, reasonable economic damages incurred as a result of their purchase or their pet's consumption of Dog Treat Products, including veterinary treatment costs, death-related expenses, and reimbursement for the cost or fair market value of their deceased pet. Consumers who do not have documents supporting their claims for economic damages may still be eligible for cash reimbursement subject to a $300 limit per pet.

    The total amount available for product reimbursement is $700,000, and the total amount available for healthy screenings is $100,000.

    The claims may be subject to certain pro rata reductions and other limitations described below.

    Settlement notice, administration costs, attorneys’ fees and expenses, Class Representative awards, and certain taxes related to the Settlement Fund will also be paid out of the Settlement Fund.

    Quality Control and Quality Assurance Measures

    Under the proposed Settlement, Waggin’ Train and Nestlé Purina have also agreed to undertake certain business practices relating to the manufacture, marketing, and sale of the Dog Treat Products, for a period of two years commencing October 31, 2014. These practices include the use of a single-source supplier of the chicken used as an ingredient in the Dog Treat Products, the implementation of Quality Assurance and Quality Control practices relating to ingredient supply and manufacture of the Dog Treat Products, testing of the Dog Treat Products, clear and conspicuous disclosure of the country of origin on the packaging of the Dog Treat Products, and additional information on the Waggin’ Train website. These practices are described more fully in the Settlement Agreement.

    All aspects of this proposed Settlement are subject to Court approval.

  8. Are There Any Limits On The Amount I Can Recover?

    A Claims Administrator unrelated to any party in this lawsuit will administer the Settlement. The Claims Administrator will review all claims and expenses submitted and determine whether they are valid, reasonable, and payable.

    Eligible consumers may receive up to a 100% cash payment for certain documented, reasonable economic damages incurred as a result of their purchase or their pet's consumption of Dog Treat Products. Claims may be subject to certain limitations. First, the total amount of money available from the Settlement Fund to reimburse pet owners for healthy pet screening (or testing), in cases where the pet did not become ill or die, is limited to a total of $100,000. If this limit is reached, the part of your claim for testing your healthy pet will be pro-rated based on the ratio of the amount of your claim approved by the Claims Administrator to the total amount of all the approved claims for healthy pet screening. Second, the total amount of money available from the Settlement Fund for reimbursement of purchases of Dog Treat Products is limited to a total of $700,000. If this limit is reached, the part of your claim for reimbursement of Dog Treat Product purchases will be pro-rated based on the ratio of the amount of your approved claim to the total amount of all the approved claims for Dog Treat Product reimbursement. Third, if the total value of claims for all other economic damages – separate and apart from healthy pet screening claims and Dog Treat Product purchase claims – exceeds the total Settlement Fund amount available, the part of your claim for other economic damages will be pro-rated based on the ratio of the amount of your approved claim to the total amount of all the approved claims for these other economic damages. Any pro rata reductions will be applied first to claims made by Settlement Class Members without supporting documentation before any pro rata reduction is made to claims made by Settlement Class Members that do submit supporting documentation.

    Claims for economic damages that are not supported with documentation are limited to a maximum of $300 per pet.

  9. What Happens If There Is Money Left Over In The Settlement Fund?

    If at such time, all valid Claims are paid in full from the Settlement Fund by the Claims Administrator, and there is a balance remaining in the Settlement Fund 180 days after the last check is issued, the Claims Administrator will, if feasible, distribute any such balance by way of pro rata payments to Settlement Class Members who submitted valid claims and who cashed their checks in an equitable and economical fashion. Thereafter, any remaining balance will be paid in equal amounts to UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and North Shore Animal League, which are both non-profit organizations that promote the health and well-being of pets.

THE CLAIMS FILING DEADLINE WAS APRIL 1, 2015. WE ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTING CLAIM SUBMISSIONS.

The Court held a Final Approval Hearing on June 23, 2015. At this hearing, the Court considered whether the Settlement was fair, reasonable, and adequate. The Court also considered all valid and timely objections. Judge Robert Gettleman approved the Settlement and entered the Final Approval Order on June 23, 2015.

 



 

Reports of illness tied to pet jerky treats drop sharply, FDA says

Originally published February 19, 2015 at 8:47 am Updated February 27, 2015

After seven years of increases, the number of complaints about animal illnesses tied to pet jerky treats made in China has fallen, federal officials said.
By JoNel Aleccia
Seattle Times health reporter

For the first time in seven years, complaints that jerky pet treats made in China are sickening and killing America’s animals, mostly dogs, have fallen sharply, federal officials said Thursday.

Between May 1 and Sept. 30 last year, 270 complaints of illnesses tied to the treats were received, down from about 1,800 complaints filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the previous reporting period, from October, 2013, to May last year.

That’s the lowest tally since the FDA first began warning consumers in 2007 about possible ties between chicken jerky treats and pet illnesses, including digestive troubles, kidney failure and a serious condition known as Fanconi syndrome.

Overall, however, the agency has logged more than 5,000 complaints involving 5,800 dogs and 25 cats — including about 1,000 dogs that died after reportedly eating the popular treats. Three people also were sickened, including two toddlers and an adult who admitted snacking on the chicken, duck or sweet-potato treats.

And the FDA has still not identified a source or a cause.

“This is the lowest amount that we have gotten thus far,” said Siobhan DeLancey, an agency spokeswoman. “We’re not sure if this is because the products are off the market, because people are more aware of the problem, or because some of the products have been reformulated.”

The decline has puzzled other experts who’ve been tracking the problem, including Kendal Harr, a veterinary clinical pathologist with a private practice in Mukilteo.

“I haven’t had a single case report since spring,” said Harr, who has been conducting tests in connection with the problem for years.

The drop in complaints follows reports that two of the nation’s top retail pet-care chains, Petco and PetSmart, announced plans to pull jerky treats made in China from store shelves by this year. Petco said it stopped selling the treats in January.

And it comes after a $6.5 million class-action settlement between Nestle Purina PetCare Co. and its subsidiary, Waggin’ Train LLC and dozens of pet owners who claimed their animals were injured or killed by eating chicken jerky treats.

 

But it’s small comfort for pet owners in Washington state, where at least 180 pet owners submitted complaints about the jerky treats to the FDA, records show.

Suzanne Dinning, 64, of Tumwater, Thurston County, said the death of her 7-year-old Chihuahua, Randi, in 2012 was tied to the consumption of jerky treats. The tiny dog developed kidney failure after eating Healthy Hide brand triple-flavor pork, beef and chicken chews, according to a complaint filed with the FDA.

“My vet said that is what caused her problems,” said Dinning, an insurance agent. “Every time I see anybody going to reach for a treat I know is made in China, I tell them my story.”

It’s not clear whether the downward trend in complaints has continued since last September. DeLancey acknowledged the report is several months late, blaming administrative delays.

Because of the drop in complaints, the FDA will now issue complaint reports annually instead of every six months, the agency said. The agency will continue to devote significant resources to the problem, however, and will post non-routine updates if warranted.

Pet owners and animal advocates have criticized the agency for years for not identifying a source or cause of the animal illnesses and deaths. Agency officials have countered that they’ve tested treats for a wide range of possible contaminants and pathogens, asked the nation’s veterinarians to share their case reports and, in several cases, conducted necropsies on animals that consumed the treats — all to no avail.

Jerky-treat makers have consistently said that there is no proven link between their products and the pet illnesses. FDA officials said they couldn’t demand recalls of the treats because there was no proof of contamination.

The nation’s top two jerky-treat suppliers, Nestle Purina and Del Monte Foods, which became Big Heart Pet Brands, issued a voluntary recall in January 2013 after New York state agriculture officials detected low levels of unapproved antibiotics in the treats.

Neither Nestle Purina nor Big Heart representatives immediately responded to requests for comment about the drop in complaint reports.

Last June and again in December, the FDA issued an import alert for chicken jerky-type pet treats made in China because of the presence of antibiotic residue after tests detected amantadine, an antiviral medication.

The substance is not believed to be responsible for the pet illnesses and deaths, but “it shouldn’t be in there at all,” DeLancey said.

Both Nestle Purina and Big Heart Pet Brands reintroduced pet treats last year. Nestle Purina officials said their products would be made from a single supplier in China, and they also introduced new products sourced entirely in the United States. Big Heart officials also said they were resuming sales of treats made with U.S.-sourced meat.

FDA officials continue to warn consumers about the potential link between jerky treats and animal illnesses. The treats are not essential for a healthy diet, the agency cautions.

If pet owners choose to give treats to their dogs, they should watch for signs of potentially serious illness including decreased appetite and activity, vomiting, diarrhea and increased thirst or increased urination.

Information in this article, originally published Feb. 22, 2015, was corrected Feb. 26, 2015. A previous version of this story gave the incorrect name of a pet illness possibly tied to jerky treats from China. The illness is Fanconi syndrome.

 

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