Don Earl Files Lawsuit Against Menu Foods And Kroger

Chuckles

Don Earl, a pet owner, has filed a $70,000 lawsuit against Menu Foods and Kroger for the death of his cat. Don’s cat, Chuckles, died in January of sudden kidney failure.

Determined to find some answers on Chuckles’s death, he found a private lab to conduct tests on his cat’s food at his own expense. ExperTox, a Texas lab, found traces of acetaminophen and cyanuric acid in Chuckles’s Pet Pride cat food.

Don has filed suit for the death of Chuckles as a result of “eating adulterated food manufactured product, distributed, advertised or sold” by Menu and Kroger.

From Pet Food Recall Facts: (Don’s website)

In spite of the fact it is a criminal offense, both to abuse pet animals and to sell adulterated food, to the best of my knowledge, no criminal charges have ever been leveled at a pet food company for their criminal acts in an endless series of deadly pet food recalls. Under the circumstances, the only justice any of those of us affected by the criminal acts of corporate America will find is through the process of civil actions. If money is the only tool of justice available to me, then by all I hold dear, I am going to make those responsible for murdering Chuckles pay for their criminal acts.

As I understand the situation, any claim over $75,000 automatically puts the matter in the hands of the Federal Courts. Chuckles died in my home, from poisoned food sold to me near my home. I do not want to travel to New Jersey in order to hold those responsible accountable. So, in order to force those responsible to the scene of their crimes, it is necessary to stay below $75,000. At the end of the day, while no amount would compensate me for my loss, maybe something close to that amount would feel like justice.

I want those responsible to look me in the eye and know what they did was unthinkably evil. I want justice terrible enough that to the end of their days, they will never poison another Chuckle cat. I want my day in court, in front of a jury of my peers.

49 Responses to “Don Earl Files Lawsuit Against Menu Foods And Kroger”

  1. pat says:

    Don Earl is my hero.

  2. Jenny Bark says:

    Don
    I will be praying every day for you and your family (don’t know if your married or not). They will be comming after you big time. I just wish you could go after the FDA too. They all are no good. God knows when every sparrow falls so you know he cares about our babies.
    Please people on Itchmo raise Don’s name every day because we have a bigger God on our side who hates evil and loves us all.
    I don’t know if their is any thing else I can do to help but if their is just let me know. Jenny Barkley

  3. Dana says:

    Don, I applaud your efforts and wish you success-triumph (if it can be had) would be having them look you in the face and answer for what they’ve done. Bravo Don!

  4. cats says:

    You are my hero, also. You have invested so much energy into this poisoning of pets.
    Testing the food was a great way to go.

    I imagine you are still heartbroken about your needless loss. I wish you success in your lawsuit. I just hope time will heal your sorrow a little bit.

  5. Pukanuba says:

    Don……I am so sorry about Chuckles & the pain you had to go through to get you to the point you are at today. I will be crossing my fingers & praying that you will come out of this smiling…….no matter what the outcome, you will still be our hero.

    I want to see them come face to face with you & hear how their irresponsible behavior & greed has affected your life. I would like to see all those criminals have to sit in a courtroom & listen to you & hundreds of others about how they lost their best friends & the cost to them both financially & emotionally. They have no heart but maybe this would force them to look inside themselves & see them for what they really are. I guess this is asking too much…..anyone who puts money above an animal’s well being has to be a real heartless creep. Especially when these sleaze balls all got rich by their claims of wholesome & well-balanced food for our pets. Yeah, right.

  6. Dave says:

    Some day, all pet owners will realize that feeding a highly processed food, cooked at high temperatures, filled with preservatives, throw in some cheap grains, rice or corn as a filler, add some salt to force the cat/dog to drink water in order to process the food, show some lovely pieces of chicken or beef along with some nice looking veggies on the packaging (that you can never find inside the bag), add rendered materials as a protein source (and in what the heck is chicken meal), and you end up with a product that is not fit for any living being.

    The pet food companies have been killing pets for years and the vets (who for the most part have zero knowledge about nutrition) are all in it together to take your good money and ask that you trust them with the products they sell. Look what has happened and in reality, all commercial pet food is simply bad. A pet is a living being and deserves living foods.

    It is sad that people like Don, have to spend money and time, not to mention a sadness of losing a pet that hurts every day, to prove just how bad commercial pet food is. Best wishes Don, unfortunately your day in court may be years away as the pet food lawyers will try to wear you down.

  7. Krista says:

    Absolutely!!!

    The only way to make those responsible is to hit them in the pocket book. If they get off scott free, this will continue. Past, present, and future. They have no remorse, so come out swinging!!!!

    On bended knee, this family stands with you and will keep you in our thoughts and prayers!! OUR HERO = DON EARL

  8. Claudia says:

    Don,

    I’ll be watching for updates and praying for you. I hope it doesn’t take too long to get this lawsuit through. Litigation is an arduous process. I know how much you loved Chuckles and she, your other babies and all of our furry kids are well worth the agony. If it were my ‘kids’, I’d do it too.

    Right there beside you,
    Claudia

  9. dogmom 3 says:

    Don,

    We will all be standing beside you in spirit. I keep you in my prayers.

    dogmom-3

  10. Trudy Jackson says:

    You are our hero Don. Believe that, and We’re all so sorry about chuckles. I hope you win, We are all praying for you.

  11. 5CatMom says:

    Here’s the link to Don’s website:

    http://www.petfoodrecallfacts.com/lab.html

    Some new info (in red) has been added since I was there last.

    Good luck to Don on his lawsuit. In litigation, the battle is more important than the victory.

    I hope Don’s battle inflicts maximum damage on the corrupt PF companies.

  12. E. Hamilton says:

    Don is doing what will work, an individual lawsuit because a class action only makes money for the lawyer and he has the lab reports to back his claim.
    I hope it goes to trial because a jury is going to crucify the pet food poisoners!
    Go Don,
    All Hail Don!

  13. Rose says:

    Don, you’re doing a great thing with your website and by having a lawsuit. I hope you not only win, and get maximum punative damages from a jury trial, but also get maximum media coverage from start to finish and the news services like AP get off their pet-food-industry serving trend and be the reporters we had in the 1950’s and learned about in journalizm school.

    I wish you every luck Don.

  14. Steve says:

    With you 100% Don. Count on it.

  15. Blue says:

    Hope it’s a jury trial.

    This is one jury I would like to be on.

  16. shibadiva says:

    Don, let me also say that you are a hero to us. Your individual action has mobilized us to no longer take commercial promises at face value, and to question everything and look for better ways.

  17. furmom says:

    Don,
    It is unfortunate that it took a tragic loss like yours and others to wake us all up to the dangers of pet food from companies we trusted. Many other pets have suffered, but many others have survived and now eat safer foods because we have learned a terrible lesson. Only actions like yours, along with public support like ours will wake up more people and more food producers to the inherent dangers of mass produced food whether for pets or people. My pets narrowly escaped the same fate, but I won’t be buying commercial foods until there is a major change in these companies attitude. That means settling with people like yourself. If no one buys another bag of commercial hard hearted pet food makers will have to do the right thing.

  18. Sharon says:

    Don, you will be in my prayers every day, as are all the pets and families who have paid such a high price by trusting our pet food manufacturers and the FDA. All pet owners just want the truth and the power to ensure pet food will be safe and produced with the best nutritional benefits to our pet families. Every American would think this should be the common goal for all of us. How very disappointing. Godspeed!

  19. Leslie k says:

    Go Don ! I wish we could all be in the court room backing you.Know we will be there in spirit along with all the pets who died.

  20. thomas says:

    Thank You Don for doing this!!!!!

  21. vida says:

    I will light a candle every day, you are in our hearts and prayers.

  22. elizabeth says:

    Don, what a beautiful picture of Chuckles. Chuckles was very lucky to have had you as a pet parent and would be proud of you for doing this in his (her?) memory and in recognition of so many other innocents who needlessly died.

  23. 3FURS says:

    I did not loose a pet to this poisoning, but the horror stories that I read on this site convinced me to completely home cook, forever. So I need you to tell me if I am completely off-base. But I’m thinking that if I were a judge or on a jury and read hundreds of victim-impact statements to back up Don’s case, it would seal it for me. So if you all wrote such a statement it would put in perspective, the range of the poisonings. Also it would put a face on these pets, who are more than just numbers.

    Example: I live in( state/province) and I started to feed/bought a new bag/can of (Menu product) and fed it to my (seven year old cat Muffin/ my three year old dog Fido )on May 6th, 2007, within (three days/weeks) he/she began( vomiting, drank excessively, became lethargic, etc. ). The vet found ( liver damage, kidney damage, bowl ulceration, etc.). My (Fido )had to be put to sleep as his suffering was intense and there was no hope of recovery. Or my(Muffin) is now in renal failure and faces a life-time of challenges.

    I apologise if the pet names I used cause anyone sorrow.

    Also you could add, I did not have lab. testing done on his food, as the mounting vet bills prohibited it.

    Don does have some lab. results to show, but I think that statements such as this ,from many people, would show that this is a very wide spread case of food adulturation. Also the speed at which these poisons took effect, show just how toxic they are.

    I know some people lost more than one pet, so a list of the dates of their deaths would certainly shock any judge or jury.

    My love to you all.

  24. Thel Josenhans says:

    Don Earl ,
    I feel your pain , for , I have , had to go threw , watching , my
    beloved ……. ” Pudden ” suffer , and die , because , I thought , I was buying the best cat food , the best dog food , all , I was feeding them was ……poison , my other cat , ” Lucky ” , gravely ill , liver is swelled, digging , itching , fur lose , is on treatment , but , know , that pet food was so full of ,melamine poison , plus a few others toxins , that destroy , there organs , Thank you , for fighting ….. Menu , I have two other cats , two dogs , all sick , from there dam , poison , pet food … NEVER AGAIN , will I buy pet food , while you are up there , Ask the judge , ……… JUSTICE would be……. For the pet food Co, Menu & others in there group , EAT THERE CAT & DOG FOOD - FOR 6 MONTHS , they claim , it is so pure, let them feel , the pain , our family pets , had to go threw, that , you would rather see them , eat there poison , then the money. I am so sorry , for your loss of ” CHUCKLES ” only one , who has loss , a love one , that , can never be replaced , knows , your pain. Maybe , you need to start getting names of people , threw Itchmo , & there loss, to take to court. I pray , you win , God be with you , and , I know , ” CHUCKLES ” is with Jesus Christ , people , forget , there just little people , ” THAT HAVE A SOUL ” T.K.J. Thel

  25. petslave says:

    Thank you , Don. Know that we are behind you in strength & spirit & wish you the best in this battle. Also know that you have been a great force of change for many, many of us. Your persistance & dedication have led us to question all aspects of this money-driven industry, and have brought us together to try to make the needed changes. There could be no finer tribute to Chuckles and all the other pets who have suffered and died because of the greed of the PFI.

  26. KimS says:

    Good for you, Don.
    I hope Chuckles can somehow see how awesome you are for doing this.
    You rule!

  27. nora marasco says:

    I myself spent a fortune on Ultra Premium Dog Foods such as Nutro Natural Choice and Natural Balance the last 6 months in 2006 and my awesome Aussie, Rufus then at 6 months of age was vomiting immediately after eating and I thought “It must be his parvo belly (he was a parvo puppy at 13 weeks old and I saved him by rushing to emergency) I switched him to Pedigree (that my other 2 dogs were eating) and the vomiting and on and off lethargy and fevers went away, not to mention the bad breath and frequent urination and great thirst. When the dog food tainting news broke I went into shock and started cooking for our dogs and I still am. Luckly, those early batches of the two dog foods I mentioned were not as heavily tainted as the later batches. Thank God for you Don, you are my hero also and I can only imagine the pain you suffered when Chuckles fell so sick and looked up at you with trusting eyes that said “Help me dad.” God be with you and you both are in my prayers. I would die for my Rufus too.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I’m fortunate that my cat is still healthy even though she ate those Nutro packets every night. I wish you well.

  29. Sandy says:

    Don I too and sorry for your loss. I am proud to know you on the web. YOU ROCK in my book. I hope you stick it to them and get a LOT of media attention so there some day will be no more tragedies like your furbaby

  30. catmom5 says:

    It takes a lot of courage and heart to take on the “big boys”! I’m sorry you have to do it in the first place, but I hope you know that you are speaking for a lot of other pet parents. You are telling our story. Thank you for stepping up to do the right thing. We’ll all be with you in spirit, you know!

  31. E. Hamilton says:

    And if everyone of us emails the story of Don Earl’s fight and links to his site to every new agency and media outlet we can find, I am sure that would mean a lot to Don.

  32. KarlaSanDiego says:

    Don: BRAVO!!! You’re setting an excellent examle and chuckles is up in heaven smiling down at you!!

  33. Katie says:

    Don, I’m so sorry for your loss of Chuckles. You are the hero of every pet parent - we are all there with you in spirit and hope the big boys get what is coming to them. Man, that is one jury I would love to be on.

    E.

    Great idea! thanks.

    Katie

  34. Elaine says:

    There are 2 kinds of briefs that can be filed to support Don’s case, any lawyers out there to help with this? Or can you get it from your lawyer, Don, and pass the info on to us?

    We have done this in cases related to cattle industry issues, and it doesn’t cost anything. Maybe there is a form–for a friend of the court brief? AAGH! I can’t remember what you call it! I think one is for affected parties to the action, like those of you who lost pets, but I know there is one that you are supporting the claim because you agree with it.

  35. Roberto P. says:

    Our local papers were interested in Don’s story.

  36. Maria says:

    Don,

    My prayers are with you–Chuckles’ story is heartbreaking. Both your website and now this lawsuit you have filed are of benefit to all pet owners: you are an articulate voice for us all and have supplied pet owners with facts about the recall that don’t appear in the mainstream media. It seems these pet companies understand nothing unless it has a dollar sign in front of it, so the only way to get through to them is through the wallet. All the best to you.

  37. Pit Bull Lover says:

    Don: I hope you win your case. You are taking on giant corp. but they need to see that the people have spoken. Our pets have paid the price for their greed. Chuckles story needs to be heard and have justice for her.

    My prayers to you and your family and your lawyer.

  38. Don Earl says:

    Hmmm…. Itchmo would have to catch a typo I missed. Oh well. Spell check doesn’t catch everything.

    First, I’d like to thank everyone for the kind comments and vote of confidence.

    I tend to balk at the term “hero”. I’m just an average person, who happens to have an inate hatred for injustice, especially when I’m on the receiving end of it. In my book that means you fight. I’m at a loss sometimes to understand why folks are intimidated because the other side appears BIG. The human animal is the only predator on the face of the planet that will intentionally stalk and attack predators larger than himself. Millions of years of evolution has made us so successful at this that it is equally mystifying to me that other predators among our species so easily ignore this aspect of human nature.

    I didn’t pick this fight, and given my druthers, its one I would have chosen to avoid. The pet food companies brought this fight to my doorstep by killing one of my own.

    I don’t see that there is anything especially heroic about choosing to fight when there really is no other choice. As far as I’m concerned, the pet food companies can end this fight any time they like by making full restitution for harm done, on my terms, which under the circumstances I believe to be more than fair. If the pet food companies want to pick from a jury pool made up of the above 35 posts, then so be it.

    At the end of the day, all I’ve done in the way of public service is to say it’s possible to take the fight back to their doorstep.

    It IS possible to fight the big guys, and I believe it’s possible to win. I don’t believe there’s anything I’m doing that anyone else couldn’t do equally well if they decided to try. There is little, if anything, that I’m doing that will make a speck of difference to anyone not making a similar effort at some level or another. It isn’t possible for me or anyone else to do the heroing for you.

    Maybe one person can make a little bit of difference, but one person at a time, a lot of people can make a lot of difference. If a hero is required to get the job done, then it’s your turn to become one. My hat’s off to anyone willing to try, and you have my very best wishes in making the attempt.

  39. Anonymous says:

    The two things I was talking about that may be a way we can help Don’s case is called Intervenor status or Amicus Curiai? I am thinking that those of you who had info to add because your pets got sick or died could do that.

    Help! We need a lawyer’s input, please.

  40. E. Hamilton says:

    Don, we are ALREADY winning, it just may take a bit for the rest of the world to notice!
    Thank you for so much.
    All HAIL DON!!

  41. JJ in IL says:

    Don bravo for all your efforts. E. Hamilton said we are winning - all of us have or for the most part written, called, informed others, helped each other, etc. And it continues to grow with each person joining Itchmo and other sites to find out how to go about what you are doing and what to do for their pets also. My prayers are with you for justice to be done.

  42. Don Earl says:

    I’m not sure about amicus briefs, although it’s an interesting idea. In terms of the bigger picture, that approach might be more effective if the class action cases are certified. Also at the class action level, anyone who is potentially a class member may file a notice of appearance if they want to receive copies of notices, motions, etc. filed in the case. There’s also a service called “Pacer” where anyone interested can view documents filed in Federal cases for eight cents a page, and there’s no charge if you use less than $10 worth in a year. It might actually make for an interesting ongoing discussion on the boards to follow the progress in the class action. I was looking at it the other day and was surprised to see the number of cases filed is approaching the 400 mark, where most media accounts are still using “over 100″.

    For those who like writing letters, I’d have to agree with those who feel the media is failing to pay attention to the fact there is much about the recall that is still news and deserves to be treated as such. In the absence of media coverage, I also agree with those who see the Internet as an alternate means of getting news and information into the public arena.

    Speaking of the media, something kind of funny came up recently. In talking to a reporter, more or less in jest, I said something to the effect of, “I’ll bet you five dollars your editors won’t let you run the story. “. When the story did run, mainly in the spirit of good cheer, I put five bucks in the mail.

    Apparently there is a policy they are not allowed to accept any amount of money for news coverage and the five dollars had to be returned. That pretty well ruined the joke, but it did spark the part of my mind reserved for twisted thinking. I can’t help but wonder what would happen if a hundred people sent a dollar to,… umm, say, the New York Times and said, “Here’s a dollar to cover this story.”, then kept putting a dollar that had to be sent back in the mail once a week until it went to press. If nothing else, it’d have to be annoying. Not that I’d ever suggest such a thing. I’m just killing a little time here and thinking out loud….

  43. Don Earl says:

    Consumer Affairs did a write up on the suit and acetaminophen related issues today:

    http://www.consumeraffairs.com.....lls61.html

  44. Stefani says:

    Don, I am not optimistic about the outcome of these cases, but if RIGHT were to win, you would win hands down no contest. Our whole system is rigged. It is not just the responsible parties you will be fighting in this case. Every interest group that does not want to see damages of this kind in animal loss cases will secretly or not so secretly be supporting the pet food companies. (I hate to say this, but this includes veterinarians.)

    You are a hero to me, fight the good fight.

    As the Etheridge song goes, “I am my intentions trapped here in this flesh and bone.” You are what you do. You are taking a stand. This makes you heroic, and those responsible and those who defend them and make specious arguments as to why people should not be held responsible for killing our pets are just scum.

  45. Linda says:

    Don,
    I hope you get every penny. This is an outrage. Just when my dog stops vomiting and other things, I try to add nutrients to her food and she is sick again!!! She has lost almost 2 lbs. and is still losing weight!! And the vet wanted to put her on some canned crap!!!!!! Over my dead body! Enough! I don’t know if this nightmare will ever end. You hold those pet food companies responsible. It must be done.

  46. pat says:

    Don - you are my hero because you are doing what I cannot. Our little cat was diagnosed with chronic renal failure in July 2006. We were shocked because he was relatively young (7) and otherwise healthy. We had noticed that he had lost some of his exuberance in the preceding weeks, but he has such an uncomplaining, happy disposition that we never suspected illness. We thought that maybe he was simply maturing into an “adult” cat. When we got the news, one of the frst questions we asked was if it as possible that something he ate caused the condition. The vet said at the time that it was unlikely. He’s been on treatment for a year and mostly he does well, but he’s not the same little devil he once was. He hates his treatments, and his all too frequent blood tests, but he tolerates them with grace and good humor. He tires more easily. He still plays, but not with the abandon he once did. We know he will not live to be an old cat; we try to make his life as enjoyable as possible under the circumstances and hope that when his time comes that we are able to help him pass with as little suffering as possible.

    When news of the poisonings surfaced, I realized that our vet might have been wrong about how our pet contracted this condition. His food was not on the recall list, but I had a gut feeling we weren’t getting the whole truth from the pet food people. Seven weeks later his brand popped up in one of the “cross-contamination” recalls. To say I went ballistic is a gross understatement… I believe I popped a few eardrums over at Sunshine Mills, owner of Triumph Pet Food, manufactured by Menu.

    Will there be justice for our little guy? No. He’s not in the right time frame, but I suspect that food was adulterated long before the mass poisoning that killed so many pets. There’s no way that I can prove that Sunshine, Triumph and Menu are responsible for his suffering, though my gut tells me that they are.

    I write my letters and make my phone calls, knowing that it will come to nothing, but if I can make those responsible for all of these pet deaths and illnesses uncomfortable for even a nanosecond, it’s time well spent.

    If you can get justice for Chuckles and yourself, in an indirect way that’s justice for our little man. Win or lose, you have the proof; you can confront them. Real heroes are always just regular folks that will not tolerate injustice.

  47. Don Earl says:

    Pat,

    I suspect there have been MANY more of these kind of poisonings than we’ll ever know. I doubt Menu would have announced this one if not pressed by P&G.

    Stephani,

    I believe there’s an excellent chance of winning. My case isn’t related to the class actions, so it can’t be joined to them. There are about half a dozen rules that bar it from being removed to the Federal District Courts. The State Courts have original jurisdiction, which means the ball stays on my playing field. Not to mention that as a Superior court case, with less potential for delays, it’ll go to trial years before the class action guys get done playing games. Even in the middle of a media blackout it’s going to get attention as the first case to go to trial if the other side lets it go that far.

    If they’re dumb enough to go to trial, the next new flavor of pet food you’ll see is sliced CEO in melamine gravy. This is the case these guys have been absolutely terrified will come to light since at least last November.

    If you’re looking for an underdog to root for, it ain’t me. I don’t believe I can lose.

  48. pat says:

    Sliced CEO in melamine gravy. Yum yum! Wonder if FDA will do a risk assessment on *that*.

  49. E. Hamilton says:

    Don, you may not be the only case filed by a private attorney.
    Won’t post here for prying eyes but some of us did not join a class action for several reasons. More on this later.

    Right now I am trying to find a place for posting of the letters denying the vet bills that are coming in, very handy to have the proof of the lying pet food companies online.

    Show people the vet bills and they pay attention, show them the pet food companies blowing off paying the vet bills and they get mad, show them the crap the pet food companies sold them labeled as premium pet food and you have created an…informed consumer shall we say?

    And everyone LOVES yelling “lying bastids” to the TV ads!


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