Lawsuit: Earth Animal Uses Rawhide in Chews, Even Though It Claims the Opposite
There’s already contention on whether to allow your dog to chew rawhide.
A class-action lawsuit filed in federal court Monday alleges that Earth Animal’s No-Hide dog chews contain the material it claims to be an alternative to: rawhide.
The seven-count lawsuit accuses Earth Animal and Pony Express Foods, which manufactures the chews, of misrepresenting the presence of rawhide in the chews and even telling customers—thorough labels, packaging, and advertising—that the chews were made without the material.
The primary plaintiff, Georgia woman Laura Beveridge, bought the No-Hide chews for her dog Dumplin in 2017 because they were advertised to not contain rawhide. According to the lawsuit, rawhide “contains added hormones, steroids, chemicals, and/or unnatural or other ingredients” contrary to how the No-Hide chew is represented.
Dumplin, a dogue de Bordeaux, died after one of the No-Hide Chicken Chews was caught in her throat, local TV stations WRDW and WAGT reported in 2017.
"I felt I made a solid choice and educated choice based on safety and the safe rawhide alternative and the ingredients,” Beveridge told the TV stations. “I've learned never to make a decision on a pet food [based on] a pet treat label."
The lawsuit fits into the debate of whether pups should be allowed to chomp on rawhide chews. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), that might depend on your dog’s chewing. The chews are designed to break down into small, soft pieces over time, but strong chewers can break off larger pieces, which can become choking hazards.
The AKC says rawhide, a byproduct of the leather industry, generally isn’t easy for dogs to digest, though it depends on your breed. Ideally, your dog would chew it slowly and only ingest small pieces. But on its website, Earth Animal says its No-Hide chews “average 80 percent digestibility compared to just 18 percent in rawhide.”
“With absolutely NO chemicals, bleaches, formaldehydes, or additives, you can be happy knowing your pet is truly getting a nutritious, delicious, and long-lasting No-Hide® Nirvana experience,” the company writes.
The lawsuit, however, accuses the chews of containing leather, chemicals, steroids, hormones, and rawhide, which are “non-conforming ingredients.” In fact, the plaintiffs write that a leather chemist, Waldo Kallenberger, found that part of the chews’ “material is absolutely rawhide split material.”
“Defendants knew or should have known the Alleged No-Hide Chews were, in fact, manufactured with and contained rawhide. Defendants expressly and impliedly stated the Alleged No-Hide Chews contained no rawhide and omitted any reference to the presence of rawhide from the packaging,” the complaint reads.
The complaint accuses the Earth Animal and Pony Express of violating unfair trade laws in Connecticut and Pennsylvania; breach of warranty; fraudulent misrepresentation and concealment; and unjust enrichment. The plaintiffs are seeking to halt the sale of the No-Hide chews and monetary relief.
Earth Animal didn’t respond to a message seeking comment from Daily Paws on Friday.