Nutro Denies Claim For Pet Owner’s Dead Dog

SandyboyIn May 2006, pet owner Jerri L. lost her 13-year-old Sheltie when he suddenly went into kidney failure.

Jerri says that Sandyboy was a perfectly healthy dog. She started feeding him one of the later to be recalled Nutro Max products. Jerri said that within two weeks, Sandyboy was lethargic, not eating or drinking, and had diarrhea.

Jerri took her dog to the vet, and the vet confirmed that Sandyboy went in complete kidney failure. The vet said that there was no reason for his kidneys to suddenly fail. Jerri had to make the difficult decision to put Sandyboy to sleep.

Even though this happened in May 2006, Jerri is convinced that her dog’s death was due to eating contaminated Nutro Max dog food. She said that all of her other dogs ate Pedigree and they are fine. Sandyboy was the only one to have gotten sick, and she is certain there is a connection with his illness and the food.

Jerri filed a claim with Nutro to recoup the $700 she spent on Sandyboy’s medical bills.

Nutro’s insurance company disagrees that Sandyboy’s death had anything to do with eating Nutro dog food. Sandy received an answer to her claim on Monday.

“Our investigation has determined that our insured is not responsible for this very unfortunate incident,” the company wrote in a letter to Jerri. “The basis for this decision is in light of the fact that while your pet may have consumed some of the recalled product, testing of your pet has revealed that your pet was not ill (or the illness is not related to the recalled pet food).

“Accordingly, there is no property damage as a result of the insured’s product. Based upon the above, this will advise that there is no legal liability on the part of Nutro Products, Inc. for the alleged damages.”


Despite Nutro’s denial, Jerri is not giving up the fight and is joining a class action lawsuit.

I want my $700 and I want an admission by the company that they were wrong,” the Goodyear, Arizona woman told us today. “I don’t think anyone did this (contaminated the pet food) purposely. But I think the company needs to take care of what occurred.”

She adds: “It makes me sick to think that I killed my dog. I could barely live with the decision to put him down and now to think I may have killed him inadvertently. I could have taken it if he’d died of old age. But not this … I’m just heartsick over this whole thing.”

26 thoughts on “Nutro Denies Claim For Pet Owner’s Dead Dog

  1. Jerri……my heart goes out to you. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful this has been for you……& then to get that letter from Nutro I’m sure only added to your anger & hurt. I’m so glad you joined a class action suit……even if you don’t get all your money back, I want to see these greedy, irresponsible, lying pf companies brought to their knees by having to pay through the nose to fight these lawsuits & hopefully pay through the nose again to settle when they LOSE in court. Hopefully, our boycott of their poison will also hit them where it hurts…..the only thing they care about…..profit & their big fat bonuses.

    How these people who manage & run these companies can live with themselves & sleep at night is far beyond my comprehension. I don’t think I’ve heard one story about any of these pf companies doing the right thing, not one. And then I have to sit through these disgusting ads on TV about their wonderful nutritious food that will add years to our pets’ lives……that’s the statement that burns me the most. Too bad they can’t find a better use for their ad budget……as in reimbursing people for all the animals that their wonderful nutritious food took years away from & killed. Maybe they should rewrite those ads & be truthful for a change.

  2. These irresponsibile PF companies can never replace what thousands of pet owners have lost. The LEAST they should do is compensate owners for their vet bills.

    Jerri, your Sandyboy was beautiful. I’m very sorry for your loss.

  3. Beyond sad!
    And this company, Nutro, is w-a-y beyond COLD.

    How could anyone knowing this EVER purchase a Nutro product?

  4. Just because the company says there is no liability doesn’t make it true. If I drove around with a sign on my car that reads “Not responsible for any accidents I may be involved in,” that doesn’t make that true, either.

    A lawsuit will determine the validity of their statement.

  5. My deepest condolences to Jerri. It is so hard to lose a dog prematurely. For it to come from food from your own hand that you believed was top quality is just tragic. Of course, Nutro will deny these claims. It opens a floodgate of liability. It is right? Hell NO!

    We must all DEMAND healthful, safe food for our beloved pets (and for ourselves). Personally, I want to SEE assurances on packaging that all ingredients originate from the United States and that they are safe.

  6. The response looks like a form type reply—

    ” “Our investigation has determined that our insured is not responsible for this very unfortunate incident,” the company wrote in a letter to Jerri. “The basis for this decision is in light of the fact that while your pet may have consumed some of the recalled product, testing of your pet has revealed that your pet was not ill (or the illness is not related to the recalled pet food). ”

    Did they even test the pet as they write?? One more reason I will never use any of their products in the future. (although I had enough reasons already)

  7. Do not despair! They are only responding with what is Standard Operating Procedure. They know that the only way you will win is to force you into litigation. If you choose small claims court, your reimbursement is limited. The other option is civil litigation, which most people middle cannot afford, due to its high costs.

    If you choose litigation, they will seek to run it out, generating such steep fees that you will probably settle out of court. But, they are also setting you up for a REALLY, REALLY BIG JUDGEMENT because of their callous indifference, negligence, selling adulterated product, multiple instances of violation of federal and state codes, and much, much more!

  8. I am so glad I stopped feeding my dogs Nutro. The problem is although most of us that use to buy Nutro have stopped, alot of people still buy it. I went to the dog food department in our health food store and there sits all the Nutro foods. I see people buying it all the time. I gave up saying anything to most people cause they seem to not care or not want to know. The sad truth is some pet parents dont care what they feed their pets if it is low priced.One man came into the feed store when I was there and asked for the lowest priced cat food they sold cause he was just feeding ‘strays’. I wish had cooked home made food for my pets yrs ago. It is so easy and I dont think it is any more costly than the store bought food. In fact I know it is cheaper than most of the food I bought from my vets for my pets. My dogs lost their appetites and began drinking tons of water when I was feeding them dry Nutro food. No one can tell me it wasnt the Nutro. Sorry for your loss and the problems you are having with the pet food company Jerri.

  9. Heartless, Nutro should be ashamed but I’ve given up on the big pet food companies having a heart. My deepest sympathies for the loss of Sandyboy, what a sweet looking boy.

  10. I too received the same response from Nutro. My 7 year old Smooth Fox Terrier, Wiley, died on November 2, 2006. He started getting ill (vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy) in mid September 2006. At the time, the vet thought Wiley may have contracted “dog flu”. Wiley would get better when fed home cooked chicken and rice. After seeming to recover, I would begin to feed him Nutro Ultra canned products, Natural Choice packets etc. and he would get sick again. On October 25, 2006 a fast growing tumor was found on his right kidney. Surgery was done on October 26 to remove the tumor. He came out of the surgery as if nothing had happened to him. The vet even remarked about how well Wiley was doing. Since Wiley hadn’t eaten for about 36 hours, I took him home and fed him some Nutro Ultra canned food. About six hours later, he crashed. I took him to the Animal ER and he was diagnosed with kidney and liver failure. He passed away about four days later.
    Wiley was fed Nutro canned products about 95% of the time for the last five years of his life.
    I donated the food I had left to a local rescue. The adoption coordinator told me later that some of the rescues would throw up. They thought the dogs were reacting to stress, being wormed and shots.
    The adoption coordinator found an empty can that I had donated that had been fed to the rescues. The can would have been purchased in either August 2006 or early September 2006…….and the UPC code is on the recall list. So don’t let Menu Foods tell you that November 8, 2006 is the magic date!
    I tried talking with the folks at Nutro and the Hartford Insurance Agency about Wiley’s death. I submitted the vet reports and bills for about $1200.
    I too, received the exact same form letter from the Hartford Insurance Agency stating that Nutro was not responsible for Wiley’s death.
    The funny thing is that the same day I received the rejection letter, I also received a stamped mailer and letter from Nutro requesting that I send them the empty can.
    I still have the can.
    I have notified the regional FDA representative, but have not heard anything from them.
    I wonder how many people have received the same form rejection letter from Nutro. Is there a class action against Nutro?

  11. Till this day all these stories break my heart over and over, I agree with who ever said how do these people sleep at night, I hope when they do sleep they have horrible nightmares of dogs and cats chasing them off a cliff or something. Sorry just venting but the damage they have caused will never be forgotten, and hopefully someday they will pay. In the mean time all I can do is try and hurt them by word of mouth and not buying their products ever again.

  12. This is all so sad. We fed Nutro (dry) to our baby up until about March. Thank God, no problems, but I took her off the food permanently at that time. My vet still swears that the big companies are sooo good in nutrition. He’s a great vet, but doesn’t know beans about nutrition. Wish he and most other vets would bother to educate themselves. Baby’s on Life’s Abundance now. Tried Evangers but she reacted badly to that – and I do wonder if the food’s ok? My heart goes out to this owner. Beautiful baby.

  13. To Jerri L. I am so sorry for the loss of Sandboy, he was too young for this to happen. I know how you must feel feeding him this poison. I too lost my pet and feel the same about feeding her the pet food that killed her. She too was too young to die.

    You have my deepest sympathy.

  14. This is SOP for big business. Deny all claims and a predictable percentage of those with claims will go away.

    I would also say most of these outfits are feeling pretty cozy and comfortable with the success of the whole melamine scam. 40 years of medical and scientific studies have shown melamine to be virtually nontoxic and at least one of those studies feed dogs massive quantities of melamine for a year, with no ill effects.

    What a nasty shock it is going to be for pet owners and the class action attorneys who limit their research to whatever hype appears in the latest Associated Press release. They’ll blithely go into court claiming melamine killed their clients’ pets, only to have their heads chopped off when they find it isn’t provable that melamine is toxic. Slam, case dismissed. Exit corporate America laughing.

    Why is it that 99% of the food labs in the country are limiting pet food testing to substances known to be nontoxic? Why is the FDA so quick to denounce, and refuse to investigate, any independent findings of substances which truly are toxic?

    One nationwide vet clinic reported a 30% increase in kidney failure during the recall period, yet there isn’t a speck of evidence to connect that increase to melamine.

    The foods testing positive for lethal substances have never been recalled. There is no requirement for the pet food companies to recall anything, so what we have is one recall related to a nontoxic substance not approved for use in food, and a second, super deadly and widespread problem that was never announced.

    There’s no liability connected to the first. The second would force even the biggest companies responsible straight into bankruptcy.

  15. There is no need for a recall if nobody will buy the stuff, and that is what we need to do, keep spreading the word, make copies of the letters that say they won’t pay for the pets they kill and get those letters out there in view everywhere you can!

    Make sure that folks are aware that these pet food companies CANNOT be trusted.
    Those denial letters are VERY valuable!
    How many people will buy a food made by a company that they KNOW kills pets and blows off the vet bills?
    Use their own actions against them.

  16. Why doesn’t this surprise me? They (the dog food companies) downplayed there was a problem until it was too obvious to ignore. Just like any company, they are more concerned with the bottom line. If they can get out of paying any or all claims, they will. Unless you happen to have undeniable proof; like a video of you feeding the food to your dog.

    As a fellow Sheltie lover, my heart goes out to Jerri. Sandyboy is playing with all the other Sheltie angels.

  17. Sandi boy was so beautiful! I lost my collie last week. I am so sorry for your loss! I hope that you get your just dues from Nutro! If the food was not tested for proof I am sure it will be harder to prove in court. Hope you still have some of it left and did not throw it away. I am still frightened by all this pet food. My daughters dog threw up twice the other day and she feeds it purina dry food. I told her about all of this but she did not listen like so many people do not listen. I pray her little fur buddy just ate something that did not agree with him but with the melamine, etc. in the human food chain I am so afraid that it will still makes the pets ill! NO ONE HAS SAID THAT IT WILL NOT EFFECT OUR PETS AND I STILL WANT TO KNOW!

  18. Highnote-I had Pur 1 tested & it had excess vit e in it. Send me a pm if you would like a copy of the lab report for you daughter.

  19. Jeri, my deepest sympathy on the loss of your sweet Sheltie.

    These pet food companies just don’t care and are laughing all the way to the bank. It is so sad. And, I don’t think it’s over or ever will be. There will never be commercial dog food in my house again. I hope the big PFI companies start to feel the pinch. Since they thrive on greed, only a decrease in profits would push for a change. But, than they would have to put “real food”, “safe tested ingredients” in the bags and cans, and somehow – I don’t see that happening.


  20. How sad I am so sorry for the pets , and the pet parents of all the pets Nutro screwed not once but twice

  21. i’m just wondering…is canidae dry and wet ok? i’m giving it to my dog since i took him off mighty dog and iams dry.

  22. The best way to speak to these companies is thru $$$$$.
    Do not buy their products… advise others not to buy their products. Stop people in the stores when you see them buying their products and tell them. Nothing travels faster than word of mouth and nothing speaks louder than the almighty dollar!

    When they are out of business and shuffling along the sidewalks in their slippers…maybe then they will consider the error of their ways!

  23. On 11 Mar 09, I lost one of my best friends, an appx 8 year old hound mix. Two days later I almost lost my other dog. Both dogs were lethargic, vomiting, had severe diarrhea, and the one that died experienced early stages of renal failure. My vets could not figure out the source of the problem. I saw yesterday that Nutro is beng investigated, and now things are starting to make sense. Beyond the toxicity displayed by each of my dogs, the other common theme was that I fed them both Nutro Natural Senior dog food. I never suspected this company would sell a tainted product, but apparently I was wrong.

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