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Pet Food Poisoners Plead Guilty

For those who watched their companion animals suffer more than two years ago, after the worst pet food recall in American history, the pain is still fresh.  A resolution of sorts, however, is near at hand.

Two of the individuals central to the contamination that afflicted thousands of dogs and cats submitted guilty pleas to numerous misdemeanor charges and a single felony charge.  The married co-owners, Stephen and Sally Miller of ChemNutra, were originally scheduled for sentencing on June 16th, but that was postponed and, as of the date of this newsletter’s submission for publication, has yet to be rescheduled.

The Miller’s were indicted for their actions of knowlingly distributing more than 800 tons of melamine-laced wheat gluten imported from China in more than a dozen shipments.  The couple passed off these tainted goods as high-grade protein ingredients, selling it to several of the largest producers of canned pet food and ultimately resulting in the recall of over 150 different brands of pet food.

While the maximum sentence would be two years in prison without parole and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines, those who have wished for a punishment equal to the crime may be disappointed by the upcoming decision.  Prosecutors handling the case have signalled their openness to leniency, recommending that the court impose a $25,000 fine against ChemNutra, $5,000 each against the Millers, and sentence the Miller’s to three years of probation each.

It is worth noting that ChemNutra is just one of the 20-plus companies required to contribute to a $24 million compensation fund, the outcome of a class-action lawsuit brought by families affected by the recall.  How much ChemNutra paid into this fund is not a matter of public record, and may never be made known.


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