Ontario pet-food company faces $60M lawsuit

CBC News has learned that angry pet owners in Canada have filed a second class-action lawsuit this week — this time against a Toronto-area pet food company — alleging that pet food made their cats and dogs sick or killed them.

2nd class action in a week alleges products to blame for cat and dog deaths

Angry pet owners in Canada have fileda second class-action lawsuit this week —this timeagainst a Toronto-area pet-food company —alleging that its products made their cats and dogs sick or killed them.

A$60-million class-action lawsuit against Menu Foods was filed Wednesday in Toronto. Last week, the companyissued a NorthAmerica-wide recall of91 different kinds of dog and cat food sold across Canada and the United States.

The company has confirmed the deaths of 14 cats and dogs in the U.S. due to kidney failure,with none cited in Canada.

It follows a similar lawsuit filed Tuesday in Toronto against Royal Canin — a multibillion-dollar French company that supplies the Canadian pet-food market — that alleges certain types of the company's cat and dog food contain excessive amounts of Vitamin D thatcan cause severe illness or death in pets.

Neitherlawsuit has been certified yet. None of the claims has been proven in court.

Toronto lawyer Joel Rochon, who filed both lawsuits, told CBC News on Wednesdaythat his office phones have been ringing steadily with calls from pet owners whoallege their dogs and cats are victims of tainted Menu Foods products.

"We're getting calls from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, right across the country," he said.

Amanda Whiting of Toronto is the representative plaintiff in the lawsuit,and alleged in an interview with CBC News that her cat Daisy was eating one of Menu Foods' brands before her pet became gravely ill.

"The vet is saying I'm going to put her on an IV and she'll have a 20 per cent chance of living … and I'm going to pay hundreds of dollars for a cat to go on an IV," she said.

Menu Foods isn't commenting on the lawsuit.

In a statement Wednesday, Royal Canin said none of its productsis linked to any current safety issues regarding Menu Foods.Royal Canin'sproductsthat were recalled in early 2006wereprescribed exclusively through veterinary clinics, it added.

"Royal Canin Canada wishes to assure customers that all affected products have been removed and destroyed,"the statement said."No over-the-counter pet food was affected."