A class action lawsuit has been filed in California against Dynamic Pet Products the manufacturers of Real Ham Bone!
More and more dog owners have come forward and blamed Real Ham Bone for dog deaths.
On Monday, Scott Kent told the Chicago Tribune that the precooked, hickory-smoked pork femur was the reason Nugget, his Cockapoo or Cocker Spaniel–Poodle mix, died. Kent recalled his wife giving the 4-year-old dog the packaged bone treat in March and she loved it.
“She was eating the meat, chewing the knuckles,” he said. “We took it away after a while because she wouldn’t put it down.”
Kent said Nugget died within 24 hours. He said the Cockapoo fell ill that night and vomited every 20 minutes for about seven hours.
“We stayed up all night with her,” Kent said.
But after he left for work in the morning, she passed away.
“I get a call from my wife screaming hysterically saying that she killed the dog, she killed the dog, because she bought the thing for her,” he said. “You think you’re doing something good for your pet — giving them a treat — and it kills them.”
A month after Nugget’s death, a California woman named Khristie Reed filed a lawsuit against Dynamic Pet Products.
Reed said her Basset Hound also died after chewing on the bone. The suit argues that despite customer complaints, the treat company continues to sell the product as “safe for your pet” and “meant to be chewed.”
The lawsuit’s language splices the pet product company’s word-for-word message on its website, which reads the Real Ham Bone is “safe for your pet when label guidelines are followed” and “meant to be chewed, not eaten.” Part of the package guidelines read, “Supervise your pet while enjoying any natural bone product. … Pet owner assumes liability associated with the use of this or any natural bone product.”
Customer complaints triggered a reaction from the St. Louis Better Business Bureau, the suit says. In 2010, the bureau first alerted Dynamic Pet Products about several Real Ham Bone complaints, and an alert remains on the company’s online bureau profile, said Michelle Corey, the St. Louis bureau’s president and CEO.
The BBB has collected 54 complaints against Real Ham Bone since 2008.
“I know of at least five or six cases where the dog actually died,” Corey said, “and in many of the other cases, they were severely injured.”
Aside from the BBB complaints, there are complaints online too. One of them is Reed’s.
In Facebook post, Reed shared photos of her Basset Hound, Fred. In the caption, she wrote how much she regrets buying the bone in the first place.
“Please share this so others don’t make the same mistake I did,” Reedposted.
Despite the complaints, Real Ham Bone is still on the market in the US.
An employee of the company said the bone is FDA-approved and is federally regulated.
“We take the safety of the products we offer very seriously and go above and beyond what is required by law with the measures we have in place,” the employee said in a statement.
“That is one of the reasons Walmart is comfortable selling the product,” said s Walmart pokesman Brian Nick.
Nick also said that the product’s total sales far outnumber the complaints. In May, two people complained out of about 300,000 bones sold nationally. In April, three complained out of 256,000.
“At Walmart, we are committed to providing our customers and their pets with safe, quality pet treats,” Nick said in a statement. “We take any concerns raised seriously, and after thoroughly reviewing the situation with our supplier, we are confident in offering this product to our customers.”
But Corey said the ratio is not a fair comparison.
“We know a majority of people don’t complain or they may not even know who to complain to,” she said.
One of those is Kent, who only did his research about the bone after Nugget died.
“You wouldn’t think to research a product in a pet store,” he said. “I think that they have an obligation as a company doing business with the public to not sell products that they should know are dangerous.”
While the bones remain on Walmart’s shelves, Walmart and Dynamic Pet Products have made sure that the guidelines are now boxed in yellow and include the word “WARNING.”
Although Real Ham Bone is FDA-regulated, it does fall under a general notice the agency first issued in 2010 – which warns that bones like the Real Ham Bone are not safe and that giving them to a dog can cause gastrointestinal obstruction, vomiting, diarrhea and death, among other complications.
Aaron Jackson, surgical department head at the Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center, confirms this.
“You have to be careful in general with bones. They can cause problems in dogs and cats, whether they’re cooked, not cooked, precooked,” he said.
Chicken and pork bones especially, like the Real Ham Bone, have the tendency to splinter more than beef bones do.
“But all three types can cause problems,” Jackson said.
Whether it’s a treat or toy, Jackson advices dog owners to be always cautious. Each week, Jackson says he sees two to three obstruction cases with causes ranging from chew toys to trash like corncobs.
“I’ve always just watched my pets with my toys,” he said. And if any symptoms arise, or you can’t find that bone or toy your pet was just gnawing on, “you really need to get it into the veterinarian or the emergency clinic.”
Source: The Chicago-Tribune