Purina Beneful dog food is killing or making ill thousands of dogs, pet owner claims in US lawsuit

Pet owner Frank Lucido claims he fed his three dogs Beneful 'kibble' style dog food, but within a short period of time two were ill and the other one had died

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The Independent US

Thousands of dogs have died or been made ill after eating a particular brand of dry dog food, it has been claimed in a lawsuit.

Pet owner Frank Lucido claims he fed his three dogs Beneful "kibble" style dog food, but within a short period of time two were ill and the other one had died.

He has now filed a suit against Nestle Purina PetCare Company in the US District Court in the Northern District of California.

The suit, filed on 5 February, alleges a compound used in antifreeze for vehicles was contained in the food, along with a group of toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains.

Lucido claims in the suit that there have been more than 3,000 complaints made online about dogs becoming ill or dying after eating Beneful in the past four years.

He says the dogs have shown "consistent symptoms" such as stomach and related internal bleeding, vomiting, diarrhoea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, kidney failure and liver malfunction or failure.

In a statement, Purina has insisted "there are no quality issues with Beneful", adding dog owners could continue feeding it to their pets without concern.

In its statement, the company said: "Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation."

"On-line postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers."

The lawsuit, which asks the court to include other dog owners in the case, asks for unspecified damages and restitution, although it does say the claims exceed $5million.

In a statement to The Independent, Purina said: "We are aware that a class action lawsuit was recently filed against Beneful in the United States. We believe this lawsuit to be baseless and intend to vigorously defend our high quality, nutritious food which is backed by Purina's strict quality controls and comprehensive food safety programme. Beneful is enjoyed by millions of dogs every day and pet owners can continue to feed Beneful with total confidence.

"An unfounded claim that is causing particular concern is around Propylene glycol (PG) in dog food. Propylene glycol should not be confused with Ethylene glycol, the anti-freeze used in automobiles. Propylene glycol has a different molecular structure, allowing it to be used safely in animal feed, as well as in human foods, such as cake mixes, salad dressings, soft drinks, popcorn etc. We use propylene glycol in some of our dog foods to help keep the kibbles soft and moist.

"We encourage anyone with concerns about our foods to call our Careline free on 0800 212 161 (UK) or 1800 50 93 68 (IE) (Mon-Fri: 8am-6pm) or contact us at www.purina.co.uk."

The Food and Drug Administration has not issued any warnings about Beneful "kibble" style dog food.

In a statement it also said it does not comment on pending litigation, Associated Press has reported.

A spokesman for the FDA also declined to comment on whether it was investigating the brand of dog food.

According to Purina's statement, Beneful has faced two lawsuits in recent years that were dismissed by the courts.

A lawsuit settled in May however saw Purina and Waggin Train LLC agree to create a $6.5m compensation fund for pet owners who claimed their animals were made ill be eating jerky treats made in China.

The FDA said at the time the treats were linked to the deaths of more than 1,000 dogs and more than 4,800 complaints of animal illness.

Three humans were also reportedly made ill by eating the treats.

Additional reporting by AP