Thousands receive payouts in tainted pet food scandal

We were so wrapped up in Hurricane Irene and the aftermath that we neglected to alert readers to an important story last week by Inquirer reporter Emilie Lounsberry about developments in the 2006 tainted pet food scandal.

It took years, but at long last people whose dogs were sickened or killed by the tainted food were compensated by the Canadian manufacturer.

Under a $24 million settlement announced by a federal judge in New Jersey in 2008, 20,000 pet owners received payouts over the tainted food.

An investigation revealed that 100 lines of food produced by Menu Foods Inc. contained a chemical used to make plastics that was added to the wheat gluten before it was sent to the United States from China.

Lounsberry looks at a a New Jersey woman whose dog died after eating the food. She received $2,400 from the manufacturer - nowhere near the amount it cost her in vet bills to try to save her Maltese named Zeus.

But, as Lounsberry notes, the ruling was precedent-setting in establishing legal rights for pets.