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Pet food maker facing lawsuits over dog deaths

Three class action lawsuits have been filed after Hill's Pet Nutrition recalled food for elevated vitamin D. One lawsuit claims the company 'dragged its feet.'

Hill’s Pet Nutrition is facing three class action lawsuits after reports of pet deaths after dogs ate food with elevated levels of vitamin D. At least one of the lawsuits claims Hill's "dragged its feet" in issuing a recall for the food, 11 months after customers allegedly first complained.

The lawsuits are filed in CaliforniaFlorida and New York.

The recall was issued on January 31, 2019.

"As early as February of 2018, 11 dog owners began to complain that Hill’s Specialty Dog Foods were causing their pets to display symptoms consistent with vitamin D poisoning, such as “daily diarrhea, excessive thirst and constant food begging," the lawsuit filed in New York reads, citing a website for consumer reviews.  

RELATED: Hill's recalls canned dog food for excessive vitamin D

Hill's, in its recall announcement, said it learned of the problem through a complaint. It said a supplier error was to blame for the elevated vitamin D.

"We are heartbroken about this recall," a Hill's veterinarian said in a video on the company's website.

According to CBS, a company spokesperson disputed the notion that it delayed warning costumers. The spokesperson said in an e-mail that they saw no trends in February 2018 that would've alerted them to an issue. 

The New York lawsuit notes the recall involved 675,000 cases (13.5 million cans) of Specialty Dog Foods.

Since the recall, pet owners have flooded the company's Facebook page sharing stories about their dogs. 

Eight other brands have either issued recalls or expanded recalls for elevated Vitamin D since November 2, 2018 -- nearly three months before the Hill's recall. That was also noted in the New York lawsuit.

Natural Life Pet Products (Nov. 2, 2018; expanded Nov. 9)

Nutrisca (Nov. 2, 2018)

Lidl (Nov. 6, 2018)

Sunshine Mills (Nov. 27, 2018)

ANF Pet (Nov. 28, 2018)

Elm Pet Foods (Nov. 29, 2018)

King Soopers (Dec. 5, 2018)

Kroger (Dec. 5, 2018)

TEGNA has reached out to Hill's for comment. 

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