Class action lawsuit against flea products after pet deaths

CLEVELAND - UPDATE: Another popular over-the-counter flea and tick product is the subject of a class action lawsuit. PetArmor and PetArmor Plus, and the parent companies FidoPharm and Velcera, are being sued after pet owners say their pets died after using the product.

PetArmor is one of many spot-on flea and tick products facing a lawsuit. Hartz, Bayer, Merial, and Sergeant's have also been sued for similar issues.

The product manufacturers believe their product is safe. Sergeant's did not return our calls for comment during our initial story, but click here to read the other company responses .

In a statement today, FidoPharm CEO Alex Kaufman said, "We are disappointed to be included in a lawsuit vilifying an entire product segment due to the unfortunate experiences of a small percentage of pet owners. At FidoPharm, we take the well-being of pets very seriously and are committed to their health and safety. Since its launch in April of 2011, we have sold millions of doses of PetArmor and have a very low incidence of adverse events - far below 1 percent of doses sold." Read the full statement here: http://on.wews.com/st8kSk

A NewsChannel5 consumer investigation last month found nearly 35,000 incidents were reported to the EPA during a recent 16-month period. The product manufacturers gave the EPA the complaints after hearing from consumers.

Our investigation looked at what the Environmental Protection Agency is doing about these incident reports, and what's being done to keep your pet safe from an adverse reaction.

While the EPA issued a warning about spot-on products in 2009, it said it believes many of the adverse reactions are due to misuse of the product.

The EPA has met with product manufacturers and is focusing on labeling changes. However, the EPA said consumers are not seeing these changes yet becasue they are still under review.

The Humane Society of the United States feels labels can be improved, and also feels the reporting system needs to be changed. The Humane Society wants a National Poison Control Hotline.

"I think we are only scratching the surface as far as the actual injuries or deaths that occur as a result of these products," Adam Golfarb of the Humane Society said.

The EPA's own investigation found it needs standardized reporting, but the data is still collected the same way as it was when the EPA began its investigation.

To watch our flea and tick investigation, click on the link .

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