COMMENTS: How Much is That Doggy?

That confounding pet food story made a reappearance on all three networks. It is mystifying why 60m cans and pouches of moist pet food have been recalled as tainted by Menufoods, when it has accounted for the deaths of just 15 cats and one dog nationwide. CBS' Bill Whitaker compounded the mystery by reporting that toxicologists have not yet discovered what is wrong with the food. Monday's theory about wheat gluten may not hold up. Still, pet owners are "going organic, sweeping natural foods, those without wheat gluten, off store shelves."

A veterinarian from Boston helped NBC anchor Brian Williams understand. More animals may have died of kidney failure in the past six months without a food poisoning diagnosis, Lisa Moses of the Angell Animal Medical Center explained: "Retrospectively this is probably why we lost these animals." Needless to say, bereaved pet owners are heartbroken but ABC's David Kerley (subscription required) explained that they have little recourse: legally speaking pets are nothing but property "like cars or toasters" so any wrongful death lawsuit against Menufoods will result in no greater liability than the purchase price of the animal.


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