Recalled food blamed in lawsuit over death of AR pet

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) - Two Rogers couples filed separate federal lawsuits today over the death of a dog that had eaten pet food that is part of a massive recall.

The deaths of at least 16 cats and dogs prompted the recall of 60 (m) million cans and pouches of pet food produced by Menu Foods and sold throughout North America under 95 brand names.

Today, the government said rat poison was found in the food.

Charles and Pamela Sims say in the suit that their dog Abby ate some of the "cuts and gravy" food that was recalled and that the dog "died as a direct result of the ingestion."

The suit claims Menu Foods was negligent and failed to warn consumers of the danger to their pets.

The Sims are seeking punitive damages, attorney fees, other costs and reimbursement of veterinary bills.

The lawsuit, filed by Jason M. Hatfield of Fayetteville, seeks class status.

Richard and Barbara Widen filed suit over the deaths of their cats Fred and Grinch, which they said was caused by feeding them Special Kitty brand food that was part of the recall.

The suit says the Widens' veterinarian said only an expensive procedure could save the cats.

The Widens claimed that they tried to reach Menu Foods but no one ever returned their message.

The veterinarian euthanized the cats.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)