Private Equity Firm Buys Out Waggin’ Train Pet Treat Company

Waggin’ TrainVMG Partners, a private equity firm, announced on Tuesday that they have acquired Waggin’ Train, a maker of pet treats.

Waggin’ Train has operations in Anderson, South Carolina and Corona, California.

Kara Cissell-Roell of VMG, said, “Waggin’ Train appeals to America’s growing population of dog lovers who indulge their canine “family member” with the best treats available. The brand potential of Waggin’ Train is clear when you consider that over 95% of dog owners who have bought Waggin’ Train treats are repeat purchasers of the product. This exceptional Waggin’ Train management team is poised to execute on a number of exciting branding initiatives and new product introductions to expand distribution and brand awareness. We look forward to working with management to help Waggin’ Train achieve its enormous brand potential.”

“VMG Partners continues to identify exceptional, high growth companies with seasoned management teams within targeted consumer industries. The pet sector in particular is experiencing explosive growth driven by key demographic trends,” said Mike Mauze of VMG Partners. “Our disciplined approach, relationships with management and founders and our unique branding support resources have allowed us to invest in over-performing, high-quality companies with substantial upside potential like Waggin’ Train. Despite this relatively challenging private equity environment, VMG Partners is pleased to have completed three recent transactions and we look forward to utilizing the skills of our experienced team to build strong companies that will yield exceptional value for our investors.”

(Thanks menusux)

14 Responses to “Private Equity Firm Buys Out Waggin’ Train Pet Treat Company”

  1. Lynne says:

    And we all know that private equity places the health and well-being of animals (and people) over profits, right?

  2. HB says:

    I have some of these at home and our dog LOVES them, but we stopped giving them to her when there was that scare with other jerky products. Does anyone remember if any stores pulled this particular product off the shelves? We have one lone bag at home and are still a little in the dark as to whether we should let the dog have them. There was never any formal recall of any of the jerky products, as I remember, just stores voluntarily pulling them off.

    If anyone could shed any light on this I would appreciate it (as would Ellie our dog who just loves chicken jerky!)


  3. menusux says:

    Neither AVMA nor FDA have rescinded its warnings about jerky products made in China. Despite what WT/ADI Pet and all the other vendors of Chinese made treats will tell you on their websites or blogs, their products are all made in China and NO ONE–not AVMA, ACVIM, or FDA, has issued any statements saying any brand was exempt from this.

    “FDA is cautioning people about feeding their dogs chicken jerky products, also described as chicken tenders, strips, or treats. There is a potential association between illness in dogs and these products. ”

    AVMA September 17, 2007

    Jerky treats from China could be causing illness in pets

    “The AVMA staff has been in communication with veterinarians who believe certain brands of jerky treats from China could be causing illness in pets. Signs of illness have included vomiting, lethargy, and anorexia.

    “Dr. Richard Goldstein, an associate professor of small animal medicine at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, has been collecting data on cases of pets that became ill after ingesting jerky treats from China.”

    “Q: What brands are affected by this?
    “A: At this time, we do not know what brands are affected by this situation.

    “Q: When will you know what brands are affected?
    A: At this time, we do not know when the brand names will be made available by the FDA.”

    We have a thread for Jerky Treats on our Forums containing a lot of information on them:

    If you look at the link directly above, you will see one woman’s experience with these treats–complete with photos she took of the mold found in the bag.

    The Forums thread will also direct you to links at Epinions and Topix message boards where people have been reporting illnesses and deaths from these treats for months. We also have a thread listing jerky treats which are made in the US:

    You might ask how it is that everyone’s saying their products have been tested and are free from contaminants, yet the illness and death reports continue. The USA Today story link might tell you how this could be possible, because there’s presently no law which says any importer need report any failed testing to FDA.

    USA Today November 19, 2007

    “The FDA gets the favorable test results, but failing ones aren’t sent to the FDA if importers tell labs not to send them, five lab operators told USA TODAY.

    “This is not news to the FDA, which regulates most of the imported foods consumers eat. There is no regulation requiring labs to send all tests to the agency. The FDA proposed that in 2004 but never followed through.

    “Rolando Perez, technical director of Florida’s Adpen Laboratories, says his lab has been recently threatened with lawsuits by Chinese seafood producers who didn’t want bad results submitted to the FDA. He also says he’s had importers take product that his lab found in violation to another lab for retesting.”

    The complaints about jerky treats found here and elsewhere have one thing in common–they are all made in China. Some brands have been removed from store shelves but have been re-stocked after no one could seem to find what causes dogs to become ill and some to die. The treats appear to cause a type of Fanconi’s Syndrome which affects the kidneys.

    You’d be far better off buying US-made jerky treats, than any of the made in China brands.

  4. Louie W. says:

    Please don’t risk your pet’s health on these cheap, imported treats.

    There’s no way to know what’s in them, and they could be laden with toxins and chemicals that are harmful.

    Instead, cook up some chicken and store the sliced meat in the fridge for a few days.

    For now, convenient processed foods are very risky for pets and people, IMHO.

  5. 5CatMom says:

    Lots of reports of dogs becomming ill after eating these treats:

    Do a search on “waggin’ train sick dog” (or something similar) and you’ll find many examples.

    No explanation has been given for the illnesses which prompted the warning from AVMA and FDA, and now a treat company has new ownership. What a coincidence!

  6. Penny says:

    Just another company that’s in the business of adding brand names to their portfolio:

  7. Katie says:

    “Just another company that’s in the business….” exactly. It’s all about the money. Spin the PR to lure the investors. I bet the product remains as is, made from questionable ingred. from China.

    I hope pet parents will think twice and not buy these things!
    Carrots, homemade jerky, organic treats, etc. are so much safer.


  8. Cate says:

    I stopped feeding my dog these treats (which he LOVED!) when I realized they were made in China.

  9. kathy says:

    If anyone wants to make their own jerky for their dogs I can tell you how I used to make jerky for my kids……(human kids that is.

  10. HB says:

    OK, guess I’ll be tossing these in the trash. Thanks everyone for the info!


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  12. RUDY says:

    i got a shitsu in oct 07. since then ive spent a small fortune in meal+snacks for my “hoover”. finiky is saying it mildly. my neighbors who have dogs have benefited from my trials+errors. finding your treats was a long time coming for end result. no more searching+ no question, a hands down….. thank you…….

  13. Ken says:

  14. Cristy Xtremedolls says:

    My dog almost died last week from these treats. PLEASE stop the maddness is right. It cost over $6,000 worth of vet bills to conclude it was these stupid treats. Thank god my dog will recover but there are others that may not be so lucky. His kidneys were in complete failure. He still has the horrible rash too. My other 2 dogs got sick and ate grass and threw up. Thank god my dogs lived, but I know there were other not so lucky.

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