Pet owners are waging a campaign against Chinese-made pet treats they believe to be deadly.
Phyllis Darnell said her schnauzer, Kara, spent a year in pain while eating Waggin’ Train treats.
"It hurt her so bad. She was throwing up all the time. She was getting weak," Darnell told Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland.
Kara eventually died of pancreatitis and hepatitis. Darnell said she has no doubt the treats are to blame, “none whatsoever,” she said.
Owners Keith Roloson and Linda Thomas said their dog Baby suffered periodic severe vomiting and lethargy. Each time, she'd eaten the same Waggin’ Train jerky treat. Their other dog, Coco, ate the treats too.
"She had bladder stones and needed to have surgery, and she was a very sick dog," said Thomas.
The Georgians are part of a growing social media groundswell demanding a recall of Chinese chicken jerky dog treats. The primary brands being targeted are Waggin’ Train and Milo’s Kitchen.
An online petition has close to 70,000 signatures, and a Facebook page dedicated to the cause has more than 6,000 members.
"When you get this many citizens making this many complaints over a five-year period and it's escalating, then you've got a problem," said Roloson.
The problem has no clear solution. Strickland found the reports from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspections at Chinese factories making several brands of treats. They found no glaring issues, besides one record keeping violation.
The FDA took no samples because Chinese officials objected.
"I hate it. The government should be saying to us, ‘Don't feed your dogs this,’" said Darnell.
The FDA is on record saying, "Pet treats are not necessary, so eliminating them will not harm pets."
The inspection reports are heavily redacted, and the FDA refused Strickland's request to see pictures. A letter from the FDA said there was "no compelling need."
The makers of Waggin' Train treats have a posted video online of what they identify as their Chinese factory. The company president delivers a message to pet owners.
"We continue to support the work of the FDA in its investigation. That testing has identified no contaminants, and no definitive cause of reported illnesses in dogs," said Waggin' Train president Nina Leigh Krueger in the video.
"Maybe 999 out of a thousand bags are fine, but I won't buy Chinese, because I can't take that chance," said Roloson.