A San Francisco pet owner has joined a national drive urging major store chains to ban Chinese-made pet treats campaigners hold responsible for the deaths of hundreds of dogs, a claim the company disputes and federal officials have yet to confirm.
The campaign, started on the online advocacy platform Change.org, is asking top retailers such as Safeway, Walmart, Walgreens, and Costco to stop selling Waggin' Train brand white chicken jerky treats, which one San Francisco pet owner says nearly killed her dog.
Dana Moskowitz of San Francisco, among more than 60,000 people Change.org said has signed petitions favoring the ban, said she witnessed her dog, Bella, almost die of kidney failure after she fed it Waggin' Train jerky she bought at a Safeway store.
"After nearly losing my dog, I am shocked and outraged that Waggin' Train jerky treats are still on the shelves and putting more dogs' lives at risk every single day," Moskovitz said. "It is simply horrific."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that since early 2011, consumers reported 2,200 cases of pets that became ill after eating the increasingly-popular chicken jerky treats and 361 reports of pets that died from them.
However, the FDA, which began its investigation into Chinese chicken jerky treats back in 2007, has been unable to conclude that the treats were responsible.
"After increased complaints began in 2011, the FDA conducted five plant inspections in China during March and April 2012," the FDA said in a Sept. 14 statement on its website. "Although the FDA has been actively investigating the reports of illnesses, no definitive cause has been determined."
The FDA did issue a warning to pet owners "to stop feeding the jerky pet treat product" if their pets show signs of poor health such as "decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea and increased water consumption and/or increased urination."