Susan Rhodes started an online petition to get chicken jerky treats from China off the shelves after her 14-year old German Shepherd mix Ginger suffered kidney failure. Once she stopped giving Ginger the treats, the dog's condition improved, but Rhodes says her aging pet is not well and will likely never fully recover. Her online petition has received 3,800 signatures in 11 days.
"I would like more than a warning. Remove the products from the shelves, whatever they can do," Rhodes said. "Anything but saying everything is fine. Everything is not fine. My dog is not fine."
Schopp, the Nestle Purina spokesman, points out that the company has not been named in any of the FDA warnings and that the reported illnesses may be the result of eating things other than the chicken treats, something the FDA also says in its warnings. "We're always concerned anytime a consumer has a question about our products," he says. "We've looked at this, and we continue to look at this."
Kurt Gallagher from the Pet Food Institute, an industry group, says no company wants to make an unsafe product. When asked about the increase in recent complaints, he pointed to the FDA warning, stating, "People are hypersensitive, so if any health issue pops up, they automatically think, 'This could be what's wrong.'"
Holly McCutcheon, a dog owner who says her fit, four-year-old dog Jack got sick in January, says there's no doubt in her mind that it was due to chicken jerky treats from China. She joined Sen. Brown at a recent press conference to make sure she tells pet owners about the potential life-threatening risk.
"I wanted to speak out because I thought really, what was the FDA doing?" McCutcheon said. "We buy those because we think they're safe."