Wave of Law Suits

A wave of lawsuits filed by cat and dog owners who claim their pets were sickened or killed by anti-flea or tick medication is targeting five New Jersey companies that make or sell the treatment.

Secaucus-based Hartz Mountain Corp., Summit VetPharm LLC of Rutherford, Morristown-based Bayer Healthcare LLC, Merck & Co. Inc. of Whitehouse Station and Sanofi-Aventis Inc. of Bridgewater are named as defendants in suits filed over the last four months.

Most recently, five pet owners filed suit against Hartz Mountain and Summit VetPharm last week, in U.S. District Court in Newark, alleging that their flea or tick treatments contained Pyrethrin, or a synthetic version of the chemical Pyrethroids, which are “known to poison animals.”

Both companies are owned by Sumitomo Corporation of America, the New York-based subsidiary of a Japanese trading and investment company, the suit says.

The suit accuses the companies of negligence, violating New Jersey’s consumer fraud law and liability for creating an “unreasonably dangerous product.” The products named include Hartz Ultra Guard flea and tick drops and Summit VetPharm’s Vectra 3d.

A Hartz spokeswoman said, “Hartz has not been officially served with this suit, and it is company policy not to comment on litigation.” A spokeswoman for Sumitomo Corporation of America, did not respond to a request for comment.

Also named as a defendant is Sergeant’s Pet Care Products Inc. of Nebraska, which makes flea and tick products.

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9 Replies to “Wave of Law Suits”

  1. omg this happened to us last summer my dog almost died and when my husband called the hartz number on the back of the box the rep said they had not heard of other dogs reacting like this?? i am sure they knew before this product was released what it would do to dogs and all they thought about was money. i feel like driving to nj and pouring this stuff on some of the people that knew about this and did nothing!

  2. I had no idea that there was this all going on until I read an article in the local paper today. We had a problem with Hartz a couple of years ago. Fortunately, it did not seriously injure our dog, but it made her sick and I made a mental note never to buy Hartz again. When I mentioned it to our usually circumspect vet, he was adamant about not using Hartz. We have since used Frontline, and had no problems.

    Still, I am now concerned – we have two toy poodles, about 10 pounds each.
    Have you all heard any problems with Frontline?

    I am so sorry that animals have been seriously injured and killed by these products. I’m just never bought Hartz again, but had no idea of the magnitude of the problems.

  3. Here is the EPA’s review of their spot-on evaluation, which is posted on their website:


    It states that the great majority of incidents for all [dog] products were in dogs weighing approximately 10-20 pounds. They also said there were deaths and major incidents reported for every dog product.

    The review also states that some products had a number of narrow dose ranges to cover the range of small dogs to heavy dogs, while other products had fewer and wider dose ranges. This would result in larger doses per pound for dogs at the bottom of each dose range, particularly so for dogs receiving product labeled for the smallest dogs.

    The smallest dose of Frontline is labeled for dogs up to 22 pounds, which means that a 10 pound dog would receive TWICE the dose per pound as a 20 pound dog.

    For more information on the EPA’s evaluation of spot-on products, please go to their website:


  4. My sweet kitty Maggie died three years ago this month from a reaction to Frontline, I seriously believe. My Vet said they’d never seen such a reaction before, seizures, lethargy and then a long, slow, horrible death within 24 hours after many emergency procedures. Another Vet told me this stuf is posisonous and shouldn;t have used it on her. They use a organic powder. Yes, she was 20 years old but was up and fine the day before. She was covered with fleas so I didn’t know what else to do but give her the Frontline. Now, I’m so sad to hear this news and know i was right all along. I will warn others.

  5. My son took his 4 month old puppy for an emergency trip to the 24-hour vet 3 weeks due to the use of Hartz flea and tick bath
    My son’s girlfriend bathed him using the bath, then put on the powder and the small vial of medicine for fleas (Hartz brand).
    The puppy took a nap and when he awoke he couldn’t even stand up. His back legs were paralyzed and he fell every time he stood up. His eyes appeared very strange also (they were half closed). His head was also shaking. We were all very scared and thought that we were losing our puppy. We were informed to bathe him in dawn dish liquid (blue type)…After 4 hours or so..the puppy was somewhat back to normal.
    We have since sent in the products, copy of the vet bill to Hartz with no response (it has been 3 weeks).

    Thank you for reading this.

  6. On my way out the door to take my two dogs to their vet after sustaining what looks like ozzing, weeping chemical burns to the backs of their necks after using Vectra 3d.

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