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Maker of popular treat for dogs settles lawsuit

September 18, 2007|From the Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, MO. — The maker of Greenies, one of the nation's best-selling dog treats, settled a class-action lawsuit by pet owners who claimed the teeth-cleaning product injured or killed their dogs.

U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner on Monday agreed with a joint request to dismiss the case. Terms were confidential.

Alan Sash, who represented 10 dog owners against Kansas City-based manufacturer S&M NuTec, said the case was settled.

An attorney for S&M NuTec, which was acquired last year by McLean, Va.-based candy conglomerate Mars Inc., didn't immediately return a phone call.

Greenies are hard, green treats shaped like a bone on one end and a toothbrush on the other. Designed to scrub dogs' teeth while being chewed, the treats have become extremely popular in recent years, with pet owners snapping up more than 300 million a year.

But beginning in 2005, media outlets began carrying stories of pet owners claiming their dogs either choked on pieces of Greenies or suffered medical problems when undigested pieces became trapped in their intestines. A CNN report last year estimated at least 13 dogs had died of Greenies-related problems.

Sash's clients claimed S&M NuTec knew of the dangers Greenies posed but refused to adequately warn consumers or pull the treats from shelves.

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