Dog owners across the country say a Washington, Mo. company that makes real bone dog treats is making their dogs sick or even killing them.
The Better Business Bureau is asking lawmakers to stop the company from selling the bones. The BBB sent the Real Ham Bone to 100 senators in congress along with a flyer detailing the complaints against it and why it wasn't safe.
Dave Marklein is one of the hundreds of people who complained to the BBB. The treat the thought he was buying for his dog Gunner, turned out to be a near tragedy.
"In the middle of the night he had diarrhea and bloody diarrhea, he was almost dead," said Marklein.
He said Veterinarians told him the Real Ham Bone splintered in Gunner's stomach and blocked his colon.
"I trusted that product it was in the store," said Marklein.
The VP of the BBB said the bone is smoked and that makes it brittle. That's why it splinters in dogs gastrointestinal tracts. The Dynamic Pet Products company in Washington Missouri sells the bones in Walmart and other retailers across the country. The BBB issued alerts about the bone for the last 5 years since the bureau got the first complaint.
"Some of these dogs have suffered horribly, some have died and they are family members," said Tracy Hardgrove, the Vice President of the BBB in St. Louis.
She said at least six dogs died and hundreds got very sick, but since only 5% of people ever report their complaints, she believes there could be more dead dogs. The BBB sent every complaint to the maker of the bone David Frick.
"And his response has been that the bone is safe," said Hardgrove.
The BBB also gave the complaints to the Food and Drug Administration and asked Walmart to pull the bones from the shelves. They also asked Frick to stop making them. Hardgrove said Frick is not willing to change anything.
Frick is now facing a class action lawsuit from dog owners who said the bone killed their dogs or made them sick.
"We want congress to take action to make this product not distributable," said Hardgrove.
Senator Clair McCaskill said she is on the side of the class action suit.
"I don't need to be convinced a product killing families pets' needs to be looked into," she said.
McCaskill is sending a letter to the FDA asking what the agency has done to look in the safety of the Real Ham Bone.
"Their mandate is to look at whether a pet product is safe and we'll hold their feet to the fire," said McCaskill.
Frick denied repeated request to talk to Frick.
Back in April, Frick told a BBB investigator "We don't think we have a problem."
After $5000 in veterinarian bills, Gunner survived the bone. His owner doesn't want any other dog to go through what Gunner had to.
The BBB said retailers have pulled the bone from their shelves. Locally, Schnucks no longer sells it. The BBB said Walmart refused to pull the bone.
McCaskill wants Missourians to call her if they have issues with the Real Ham Bone.
Claire McCaskill's contact: http://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/contact