Nikki Mael was frantic when her four dogs became violently sick soon after she fed them a can of wet dog food.
“I fed them one can and within 15 minutes, they were acting drunk, walking around, they couldn’t … they were falling over,” said Mael, “So I grabbed them all and I took them to the emergency vet and when I got them there when they were limp. They weren’t moving or anything.”
By the following morning, one of her pugs, Talula, would be dead.
The incident has sparked an extensive investigation by the company that produced the dog food Nikki used: Evanger, an Illinois-based producer behind the “Hunk of Beef Au Jus” brand.
Few could anticipate the results of their investigation: inside the dog food designed to nourish pets was pentobarbital, a chemical used to euthanize animals.
A massive recall was immediately issued by the company—a first in its 82-year history—applicable to all Hunk of Beef products produced during the same week as the poisoned can.
The 15 states were affected: Washington, California, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, George, and Florida.
The lot numbers believed to be affected are: 1816E03HB, 1816E04HB, 1816E06HB, 1816E07HB, and 1816E13HB. All suspected tainted products were manufactured in June 2016.
“We continue to investigate how this substance entered our raw material supply,” said a spokesperson for Evanger, “All [our] suppliers of meat products are USDA approved. This beef supplier provides us with beef chunks from cows that are slaughtered in a USDA facility.”