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Saturday, March 31, 2007

Pet Death Reports Could Push 10,000 - 100,000 deaths

Reports of pet related deaths as a result of the unknown

poison killing pets across the United States and Canada could go up significantly.

There is no central repository for reporting pet deaths.  Several unofficial websites and groups have initiated efforts to accept information from pet owners wanting to report an animal that has passed away or is sick.

Several of these sites are reporting deaths of pets in the range of five to 10,000 dead animals.  They are also reporting hundreds of thousands of animals that appeared to be very sick as a result of eating tainted pet foods.  The FDA and other researchers have not yet determined what is causing the illnesses and deaths of these animals, however they have identified two potential sources at least so far.

This is raised questions of the pet manufacturers potential liability as a result of the situation.  If 10,000 animals do die or have died, and each pet accumulates a vet bill of $200 as they have attempted to be treated, and if we assume that each pet is worth $200 as well, then pet owners would have a total value and cost invested in these animals of $400 each.

For dead animals alone that would total $4 million and doesn't include pain and suffering nor does it include higher vet bills nor expensive animals.

If we separately look at a number of 100,000 sick animals with vet bills of the same amount of $200, that cost goes up to $20 million for that group alone.  If half of those animals subsequently pass away that would be an additional $10 million.

Those numbers are somewhat conservative but might approximate reality when compared to the number of pet owners that do not take their animals to the vet for this illness or animals that pass away so quickly that Medicare is not needed.

If the contamination spreads further, or if reports continue to grow behind the scenes at these rates things could get dramatically more expensive.

Note. I'm only attempting to estimate the potential cost of this issue and legal ramifications, I'm a pet owner myself and I am sure that the emotional and psychological impacts will also come significantly in to play here.