Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pet Illnesses and Deaths Prompt Lawsuits Against Hartz and Other Flea and Tick Product Makers

Newark, NJ: Cat and dog owners have filed a series of lawsuits against the makers of anti- flea and tick medications alleging that their pets were made ill by the products.

Five New Jersey Companies are named as separate defendants in the lawsuits, specifically Secaucus-based Hartz Mountain Corp., Summit VetPharm LLC of Rutherford, Morristown-based Bayer Healthcare LLC, Merck & Co. Inc. of Whitehouse Station and Sanofi-Aventis Inc. of Bridgewater.

The most recent lawsuit filed last week by five pet owners against Hartz Mountain and Summit VetPharm, alleges that the flea or tick treatments made by these two companies contained Pyrethrin, or a synthetic version of the chemical Pyrethroids, which are “known to poison animals.”

The products named include Hartz Ultra Guard flea and tick drops and Summit VetPharm’s Vectra 3d. The companies are accused of negligence, violating New Jersey’s consumer fraud law and liability for creating an “unreasonably dangerous product.”

In one lawsuit, a man from California saw his Scottish Terrier, Duffy, die three days after he treated him with Hartz flea and tick drops. Rick Parsons took Duffy to the veterinarian’s facility because he did not appear well. Duffy died at the Vet's office that day and the Vet reportedly said the death was due to a “reaction to the insecticide.”

The suits reportedly states that Parsons contacted Hartz, which reviewed the case and denied any responsibility, saying that the dog’s death was due to “underlying health problems.” The suit goes on to state “in 2008 alone, there were approximately 48,000 reports of adverse events from the spot-on or squeeze-on products including pyrethrins, Permethrin, or other pyrethroids.”

According to a media report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates the products, has seen a “sharp increase in adverse consequences” resulting from these products.

“Adverse reactions reported range from mild effects such as skin irritation to more serious effects such as seizures, and in some cases, death of the pet,” the advisory said.

The lawsuits are reportedly seeking class action status.

MAR-09-10: Cat and dog owners say Hartz Mountain Corp flea medication hurt their pets [NORTH JERSEY.COM: CRIME AND COURTS] Click on title above for article;

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