MORRISVILLE, N.C. — A recall of tainted pet food has hit home in the Triangle, with reports of pets sickened by tainted food pouring in from across the area.
Now, a Morrisville family has lost one dog and may lose a second.
Precious, an 11-year-old cocker spaniel, was an important part of Ryan Eiland’s family. Eiland and his wife rushed her to an animal hospital inside a local pet store on Monday.
“They made the determination that she was experiencing liver and kidney failure and that she was suffering,” Eiland said.
The Eilands made the difficult choice to have Precious euthanized. During that same visit, they learned about the massive pet food recall and realized they purchased some of the food on the list from a local Petco.
As of Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration reports at least 16 pets have died from eating contaminated food sold at store chains such as Harris Teeter, Kroger and Wal-Mart. (Recall information, including affected brands)
“And in essence, you killed my dog and poisoned it, and I've been poisoning my dogs until two days ago for the last two weeks with no contact from any of the agencies, nobody interested at all," Eiland said of the situation. "They don't care."
Eiland said they fed all three of their dogs the recalled food.
“(One dog) goes in for some more tests tomorrow, but she seems to be doing OK,” he said Wednesday.
Their other cocker spaniel is not doing as well.
“She has some liver and enzyme problems already, so, we're hoping we don't have to put her down,” Eiland said.
Eiland is upset with Menu Foods, the company that manufactured the pet products, and Petco, where he bought them. He has a card that tracks all of his purchases, and he said he feels the company should have contacted impacted customers.
“To let me know that I am poisoning my dog for a recalled product and letting me have to find out about it on my own after my dog has already passed away,” he said.
Petco officials said the store issues millions of customer cards, and it was faster to let people know through the mass media.
In a statement on its Web site, Menu Foods President and CEO Paul K. Henderson said: "We take these complaints very seriously and, while we are still looking for a specific cause, we are acting to err on the side of caution"
The head of Menu Foods said the firm still can't explain why some cats and dogs developed acute kidney failure and died. The FDA is investigating and focusing on wheat gluten, a source of protein and a thickener.