According to a lawsuit filed in February 2015, Purina PetCare’s Beneful dry dog food harmed dogs instead of nourishing them. Yesterday, that case was dismissed when a California federal judge found that the pet owners behind the suit failed to prove that the dog food was unsafe.
There was a noticeable outcry against Purina when the case made headlines, with many people coming forward saying that Beneful caused their dogs to die or become severely ill. More than 3,000 people claimed that Purina’s dog food caused their dogs’ serious harm. With so many behind the suit, what exactly happened? Why did the suit fail?
According to Judge Edward M. Chen, Purina was granted summary judgment because there simply wasn’t enough proof to link Beneful to the alleged health risks. The plaintiffs even called on Dr. John H. Tegzes (a veterinarian specializing in toxicology) for an expert opinion. Tegzes’ testimony was found to be inadmissible because he didn’t conduct any tests himself and instead relied on scientific literature to make his case – literature that showed the need for more research. There was no solid evidence to prove that the dog food’s ingredients contained harmful levels of mycotoxins, lead or arsenic.
It may be unfortunate in some cases, but it’s all about causation. It isn’t enough to say “X happened and then Z happened.” For it to hold up in court, there must be concrete proof that Z happened because X happened. Regrettably, for dog owners, that’s just the way the legal world works.