Farm Press Release
For immediate release -- Thursday, May 2, 2002.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.
Miller Files Pet Medicine Lawsuit
Suit alleges that western Iowa company makes false claims and uses unapproved ingredients in Internet sales of pet medicines and supplements.
Logan, Iowa. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said today that the Farm Division of his office has filed a lawsuit alleging that a company called "Pet Medicine Chest," based in rural Woodbine, Iowa, uses deceptive and fraudulent practices in the sale of pet medicines and food supplements over the Internet.
The suit, which was filed Wednesday in Harrison County District Court in Logan, alleges the defendants use false and misleading claims about the health benefits of their products and use unapproved ingredients in their products.
After the suit was filed, Chief Judge Charles Smith entered a temporary restraining order requiringthe defendants to stop all sales of their products such as "Arthritiseze," "Systemajuve," "Hemotox," "Fertility Enhancer," and others. Hearing on the matter was set for June 6 at 9 a.m. The suit also asks the court to enter a permanent injunction, order reimbursement to consumers, and assess civil penalties up to $40,000 per violation of the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.
Defendants named in the suit are:
- "Pet Medicine Chest" and related entities including Canine Medicine Chest, Feline Medicine Chest, and Avian Medicine Chest. The business has locations at Logan and Woodbine IA.
- Rose Grady, founder and owner of the Medicine Chests, 3443 Highway 44 in Woodbine.
- Kathy Alvis, who with Grady manages and controls the Pet Medicine Chests, 3047 225th St. in Woodbine.
"We allege that the defendants made numerous false and misleading assertions and claims," Miller said. "For example, they claimed their product called 'Arthritiseze' will rebuild good fiber in dog ligaments and around joints, or that their drug 'Hemotox' will remove toxins from a dog's body. We also allege that the defendants failed to inform purchasers that none of their products are approved by the FDA or Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship."
Pet Medicine Chest sells products over the Internet. The defendants' home page is www.petmedicinechest.com. Many of the defendants' web pages were attached as an exhibit to the lawsuit petition.
The Pet Medicine Chest home page stated, "You no longer have to 'poison' your pet to keep it healthy! Sick of drugging your pet? Looking for a better way to bring your pet to health and keep it healthy? Well, so were we. . . 'Where love comes in a bottle.'"
At its home page, Pet Medicine Chest says, "Welcome to the first company in America to offer herbal remedies for birds, cats, dogs and rabbits." The defendants' materials sometimes disparage conventional treatments, such as indicating that veterinary drugs are toxic to animals.
The web site includes sections on helping dogs suffering from arthritis, stress, and tumors, for example. Products recommended for arthritic conditions in dogs included Arthritiseze ($25 for 20 oz., or $55 for 80 oz.), Hemotox ($18 for 1 oz., $52 for 4 oz.), Metaltox (same price), Systemajuv (same price), ProBac Adult ($20 for 2.5 oz., $40 for 20 oz.), and Concentrated Trace Minerals ($22 for 1 oz., $52 for 4 oz.)
Many of the same products are recommended for other conditions and maladies, and for other species such as cats and birds and rabbits. Most of the products would be added to the animals' food or administered in drops.
"People love their pets," Miller said. "I can attest to that, with our dog, Sam. We also know people can become desperate when their pets are not doing well or are very sick, and pet owners can be very vulnerable to misleading claims about so-called medicines or supplements that might help. And more and more people are turning to the Internet to find cures to their pets' problems. That's why we have a system of regulation," he said.
"We allege the defendants violated the Consumer Fraud Act by using false assertions and claims that certainly could mislead pet owners and result in them spending huge amounts of money."
The lawsuit says Iowa Dept. of Agriculture inspectors submitted samples of Pet Medicine Chest products for analysis by the State laboratory. The analyses revealed inconsistencies between labeling information and the actual quantities of ingredients, and revealed unapproved feed ingredients both on the labels and in the samples. In March, the Ag Dept. advised the defendants about the problems and ordered them to cease any further product sales, but sales continued, the suit alleges.
Miller advised consumers to contact the Farm Division of his office at 515-281-5351 if they have inquiries, complaints, or requests for restitution of the cost of Pet Medicine Chest products.
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