Nearly 63,000 pet owners demand recall

Nearly 63,000 people have signed a petition asking Nestle Purina to recall chicken jerky treats manufactured in China.

New data shows that since November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has logged over 900 reports of canine illnesses and deaths associated with chicken jerky treats made in China.

In November, the FDA issued a cautionary update warning pet owners about possible problems with chicken jerky products from China. Back then, officials had received around 70 complaints of illnesses ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to kidney failure.

Many consumers are banding together to force a recall of chicken jerky products that are causing illnesses in dogs.

"I lost my best friend Sampson on Friday, January 13, 2012," wrote Terry Safranek, founder of the largest petition on with nearly 63,000 signatures. "He died 9 days after ingesting the last food he ever ate: Waggin’ Train ‘Wholesome’ Chicken Jerky. Waggin’ Train and Canyon Creek Ranch - both Nestle Purina brands - are the lead offenders in the continued sale of chicken jerky treats."

Sampson’s death is one of the cases currently under investigation by the FDA, Safranek says. She says she is shocked that the FDA has known about the trouble with chicken jerky for years.

The FDA says it cannot force a recall in this instance, but does say that responsible companies should protect their customers and voluntarily recall products in question.

Pet owners who signed the petition expressed frustration and outrage over what they had believed were safe foods.

"I expect my pets treats to be safe to eat and healthy for them, definitely not cause health problems!!!" one petitioner wrote. "It should be just as safe as my food. If the Pet Food industry cannot produce safe healthy treats then I will stop purchasing them. I consider my dogs family. They should shut anyone down that produces products like these!!!"
Nestle Purina defends its products, saying that a definitive cause has yet to link canine illnesses with its products. 
"For years, millions of pets have been enjoying Waggin Train treats, and they continue to be a wholesome treat for dogs," Purina wrote in a FAQ document on its website. "Extensive testing by the FDA to examine potential reasons for reported illnesses among some dogs has not found a definitive cause that might be associated with any treat. Our Chicken Jerky Tenders are safe to feed as directed. Waggin Train includes detailed feeding suggestions on each package of chicken jerky treats (as well as all other treat products)."
Purina reminds pet owners to continue feeding treats in small amounts, as directed.

"The FDA has not determined a cause for the illnesses and states that many of the reported illnesses may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky dog treats," the company said. "While we cannot speculate on what might be the cause, we do want to take this opportunity to remind all pet owners to feed our treats as directed. Waggin Train includes detailed feeding suggestions on each package of chicken jerky treats (as well as all other treat products)."

View or sign the petition to Nestle Purina.