A lawsuit alleges Beneful brand dog food contains toxins responsible for causing severe illness in thousands of animals and in some cases death.
Plaintiff Frank Lucido filed the suit in federal court in California on Feb. 5, citing more than 3,000 complaints posted by dog owners on the Internet about dogs becoming seriously ill with a range of symptons from internal bleeding to vomiting and seizures after eating the food.
The suit, against pet food giant Nestle Purina Petcare Company, says Lucido began feeding his three dogs, a German Shepherd, an English Bulldog and a Labrador, Beneful dry kibble in December.
By the end of January all the dogs, who ranged in age from four to 11, became ill and the English Bulldog eventually died. A necropsy revealed stomach bleeding and lesions and Lucido's shepherd showed similar symptoms, the suit says.
Lucido's attorney, Jeffrey B. Cereghino, told NBC News, "the one constant they had was they were all eating the same dog food."
The lawsuit seeks class action status.
Nestle, in a statement, called the suit "baseless."
"There are no product qualities problems with Beneful, company spokesman Keith Schopp, told the St. Louis Business Journal.
The lawsuit alleges that the dog food includes propylene glycol - a component anti-freeze, which is harmful to pets and mycotoxins, “a group of toxins produced by fungus that occurs in grains.".
On its website, Nestle says the type of propylene glycol it uses is an FDA-approved food additive.