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Is Purina Offering ‘Hush Money’ to Silence Concerned Dog Owners?

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Last February a lawsuit was filed against the Nestle Purina PetCare Company after California dog owner, Frank Lucido claimed that the popular dog food he’d fed to his three dogs had resulted in the death of one and severe illness to the other two.

When word of the lawsuit got out, thousands more dog owners came forward with similar complaints against Beneful.

From day one, Purina has defended the Beneful brand and denied any issues with the product. They continue to take the position that they’ve simply been the victim of a widespread social media attack on the brand and that their food is perfectly safe to feed.

However, one June 8th, an ammendment to the original lawsuit was filed that now alleges that Beneful contains harmful toxins, as shown in independent third party testing of the food, and that Purina has been offering cash settlements in exchange for silence from those whose dogs have become ill or died after eating the food.

The amended suit includes 26 additional plaintiffs with similar stories and claims that Purina failed to disclose that the brand contains substances toxic to animals — including Industrial Grade Glycols (IGG), lead, arsenic and mycotoxins. The suit is seeking class-action status and $5,000,000 in damages.

The more than 3,000 complaints against Beneful “show consistent symptoms, including stomach and related internal bleeding, liver malfunction or failure, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, weight loss, seizures, bloating, and kidney failure,” according to Frank Lucido v. Nesltle Purina Petcare Company, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Just last week, Purina launched a massive PR campaign in defense of the Beneful brand that included several videos, a TV commercial, and two separate full-page ads in the New York Times.

The brand also launched a web campaign to dispel what they’re calling simple social media rumors. (Purina’s statement can be found here.) They continue to maintain that the food is both safe and healthy to feed.

According to NBC News,

The amended suit claims that Purina has been contacting consumers who post negative experiences with Beneful to social media, denying liability while offering them cash settlements in exchange for restrictive confidentiality agreements. The lawsuit claims to include a copy of a non-disclosure agreement for a complaint involving Beneful.

Spokesman Keith Schopp, vice president of corporate relations for Purina said that any arrangements or settlements with dog owners were simply “good will gestures” by the company.

“Anytime consumers have questions they can contact us, whether validated or not we have at times responded to them and offered compensation as a good-will gesture,” he said. “The notion that this is something we just started or there is some sort of a negative motive here is nonsense.”

Beneful dry kibble brands named in the lawsuit include Purina Beneful Healthy Weight, Purina Beneful Original, Purina Beneful Incredibites, and Purina Beneful Healthy Growth For Puppies, Purina Beneful Healthy Smile, Purina Beneful Healthy Fiesta, Purina Beneful Healthy Radiance, and Purina Beneful Playful Life.

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  1. Avatar Of Rich



    My 6 year old American bulldog died last night and for sure it is the food. I called Purina on Sunday night explaining everything and was told I would receive a callback. It is now going on Wednesday ad no callback as. Of yet. We have had her on benefit for 1 year. Up until 10 days ago she got really sick to the point she could not even walk, was having seizures,eyes dialated, high blood pressure, lethargy, and did not want to eat.. This was on Aug 10th. August 11 after not eating anything my wife and I got burgers from sonic. I bought my baby girl 2 for her to see if she would eat. She took one sniff and started to eat. I just gave her the patty and 1 bun. The next morning she was looking better so I enticed her with hotdogs as well as Pedia lite and evap milk, egg yolk and corn syrup and she ate it up. It took 3-4 days and she was able to walk on her own and go outside to use the bathroom.. I continued to give her that as well as Amoxicillan to fight of any possible infection as she had vistbular disease from recent humidity and rains is az. She was back to her normal self talking to us, jumping around being herself. Without thinking we gave her benefit with water to soften up the food and she was hesitant but at it. She was fine that night but the next morning it’s like she relapsed into a far worse state. She had 3 episode aka seizures it seemed like, with eyes dialed and jumping around. She could not move. She laid there all day shaking, twitching, fast heart rate.. then she deficit ed on herself and threw up. We watched her ll night and saved her as she was choking on her saliva. I took her to vet next morning and he came back with vistbular disease and charged 600 to run tests. WITH a broken blood machine and and injections of water and anti nausea. Dr said it was not a critical and released us saying she was stable. Our beloved American bulldog and my baby girl died 8 hours later from suffication due to the flew in her system that was as thick as a black widow webbing.. her mouth smelt rotten and rancid just like my cat had over 16 years ago and she was diagnosed with failing kidneys due to drinking antifreeze that my father use to leave open laying around (car nut) my dog died from acute renal failure from food poisoning!!!! READING RESULTS NOW AND HER KIDNEY/LIVER WAS FAILING.

  2. Avatar Of Ame



    2 things possibly wrong with the update….if they are referring to the TAPF tests, the results won’t stand as they are skewed, and the agreements I have seen are standard, that if a settlement is reached between the consumer and the company, the settlement itself cannot be discussed. This is usually because the settlement amounts vary.

  3. I too fed my dog beneful last year and she was throwing up and I told my vet about it and she told me to switch dog food so I did and she finally started getting better. So I stopped buying it..

  4. Avatar Of Linda Smith

    Linda Smith


    My dog Pyper died last summer due to kidney failure, I had at the time been feeding benefull, I now wonder if that’s what killed her. She had never been sick in her life. She was 6 years old.

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