SAN FRANCISCO (MEDIA GENERAL) – Following national coverage of a lawsuit filed against Nestle Purina PetCare Company, the lawyer at the center of the suit has received hundreds of calls and emails from pet owners interested in joining the suit.
Pet owner Frank Lucido filed the suit on Feb. 5 in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California saying he fed his three dogs Beneful “kibble” style dog food, and within a short period of time, two were sick and one was dead.
Jeffrey Cereghino, attorney for Lucido, has asked the court in the suit to expand the case to include others whose dogs were sickened or died.
In a statement, Purina said “there are no quality issues with Beneful,” and dog owners could continue feeding it to their pets without any concern.
“Like other pet foods, Beneful is occasionally the subject of social media-driven misinformation,” the company said in its statement. “On-line postings often contain false, unsupported and misleading allegations that cause undue concern and confusion for our Beneful customers.”
Cereghino said he’s hoping Purina will take a second look at this issue once they see the volume of calls and complaints coming in. “Some of the stories are just heartbreaking. Two dogs dying within a week of each other. People are losing their best friends,” Cereghino told us. He said other Purina dog foods aren’t seeing these kinds of complaints.
Cereghino said the lawyers involved in this suit have had hundreds of people contact them saying similar things happened to them. The next step is for the lawyers involved to “separate those that may have been natural causes from those that seem to have clear connections with Beneful.” They’ll be looking for more unusual symptoms like seizures.
One reason Cereghino said Lucido filed the suit is to warn other pet owners that if they see a problem with their pet such as lethargy, drinking lots of water, vomiting, they shouldn’t wait, they should get their dogs to a vet.
Cereghino said the amount of calls has surprised him. “We expected some responses. We did not expect the volume. Yesterday, we were inundated. I was surprised by the volume.”
*The Associated Press contributed to this report