On November 11, 2012 we bought a bag of Kirkland Healthy Weight dog food instead of the regular Kirkland Mature dog food which we regularly use. The bag of Healthy Weight was grabbed inadvertently, but we did not think there was a problem and decided to use it anyway. On the evening of November 12th, our adult son, Andrew who was staying with us while he was in transition, opened the bag of Healthy Weight to feed his French bulldog (Molly). The next morning, Molly was very sick; she was throwing up and had diarrhea. Andrew did not tell us Molly was sick at the time; he thought the illness occurred because of the switch from her regular food. This is the only night he fed his dog from our food as he bought her regular brand the following day.
We had another bag of Kirkland Mature dog food that we were finishing off, so our dogs were not fed from the bag of Kirkland Healthy Weight dog food until the evening of November 13th. The next morning (November 14th), all of the dogs were vomiting and had diarrhea. By this time, our oldest dog, Percival also had exaggerated joint pain and stiffness. We assumed the illness may have been caused by switching from the Kirkland Mature dog food to the new Healthy Weight bag. We fed once more the following evening from the Kirkland Healthy Weight bag of dog food. On the morning of the 15th, our dogs were still very sick and refused to eat their breakfast so Mr. Powell went back to Costco on his way home from work and picked up our regular Kirkland Mature Dog food.
By November 16th, we learned about Molly’s illness and became convinced that the Healthy Weight dog food was making them ill. We took the bag of Kirkland Healthy Weight back to our local Costco warehouse. Amber Hov (in Customer Service) took the bag and refunded our money. Our sons dog and two of our dogs seemed to be improving; however, our third dog Bryna, was not improving and, in fact, seemed to be getting worse. She was a nursing mother with 4 week old pups. Because she was still feeling sick, we did not allow her to nurse her pups that evening and decided that I would take her to the Vet the next morning.
The morning of November 17th, Bryna was still very sick and weak. Her head was swollen and she had dropped weight so we took her to the veterinarian, who informed us that her kidneys were failing. Bryna was immediately admitted to the veterinarian hospital where she stayed until November 21st. Upon her release, we were told that Bryna would not live more than two months; she died on December 19th, (approximately one month after eating the contaminated dog food).
November 25th, we filed a “Report of Incident” with Costco and told managers what had happened with our dogs. Our claim was opened on December 4, 2012; we spoke with Costco representatives and I released Bryna’s veterinarian records for the Costco representatives to review.
We were offered a Costco Gift Card for $100 if we would close the case at that time. We were also told that there have been no recalls on any of the Kirkland dog foods since 2008; however, after conducting our own research, we found numerous complaints and recalls involving dog food sold at Costco and other retailers who use Diamond Corporation to make their brand dog food between 2008 and 2012. And all 2010 through 2012 claims had the same indications and symptoms displayed by our dogs.
On the day before he left for Christmas vacation, Costco representative contacted us and asked for the veterinarian records that we had already previously submitted. He also asked us to dig up Bryna’s body for an autopsy. We immediately called our Veterinarian’s office to determine if the records had been released. We were told the records were faxed “a couple of weeks ago” and agreed to fax them over again.
Later that morning, Costco representative called and told us that he had spoken our Vet, and claimed that our Vet had stated that it could not have been the dog food that caused our dog’s illness. Because of this allegation he was closing our case but, since we had been such good Costco customers, we were again offered a Costco Gift Card.
We immediately called our Vet and he denied telling Costco representative that the dog food did not cause our dog’s death. Our Vet stated that he informed the Costco rep of the fact that Bryna’s kidneys were destroyed from a toxin that was introduced to her, but there was no way to prove where the toxin came from because Costco took the bag of dog food and there was no sample to be tested. Also, it had been too long to diagnose the other dogs. Our Vet did state that, since all four of our dogs got sick after eating the food, and all stayed sick for several days after eating it, he was highly suspicious that it was the dog food that caused their illness.
Our Vet also stated the only thing an autopsy would prove was that Bryna’s death occurred because her kidneys were destroyed, but the toxin would have already worked its way out of her system. Our family had already suffered through the trauma of losing our dog, and the idea of digging her up for an autopsy that would not prove anything, was unacceptable. However, if it would help our case and Costco wants to exhume the body and pay for the autopsy, they may do so as long as they agree to return and re-inter the body. However, the Costco representative told us that if we want to proceed with this claim, it will be necessary for us to do so through Diamond Corporation’s Attorney. I would respectfully like to point out that the Kirkland name is branded on the dog food, therefore we feel that this claim is Costco’s responsibility.
We feel Costco representatives have not been very sympathetic about the death of Bryna, and the rep that we were dealing with seemed to just want to get the case closed (the case was closed on January 2, 2013). Costco rep claimed it was not Costco’s policy to take dog food back and that the bag of food in question was returned to us. In fact, that is not the case. We purchased another bag of Kirkland Mature dog food, but after we realized our dogs had been poisoned, we did not want to further risk their health. Therefore we returned that bag also. The bag returned to us was the Kirkland Mature dog food, not the Healthy Weight dog food that had poisoned our dogs. We have bought ALL of our dog food at Costco for the past decade; we spent over $2,000 last year alone on Kirkland brand dog foods. After showing this kind of loyalty, I am upset by the treatment and lack of concern on Costco’s part.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $10000.