FDA: Purina Beneful did not cause dog's death

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PITTSBURGH —

We have an update on a story that we've been following about a popular brand of dog food.  Target 11 has gotten dozens of complaints from pet owners who believe Purina Beneful has sickened or killed their dogs.  Now, the test results are back.  Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor has more on what the FDA found.

The results are in for one high-profile case involving an English mastiff named Mazey. The 2 ½ year old dog died mysteriously, of symptoms that looked like poisoning, less than three weeks after she began eating Beneful.

The FDA found that Mazey died of Addison's disease, an autoimmune disorder in dogs that can shut down their kidneys.

Investigators blame her death on the disease, not on the Beneful dog food.  I spoke to Carissa and Scott Dority, Mazey’s owners, about the findings.

"It's a very hard pill to swallow.  I was convinced it couldn't have been anything other than the dog food," said Scott Dority of Cortland, Oh.

The tests also found no evidence of aflatoxin poisoning that can come from moldy grains.

"It's nice having some closure, knowing exactly what happened and why," said Scott Dority.

Purina released a statement saying, "First of all, we're pet owners, too, and we offer our condolences to the Doritys on the loss of their pet.  As we've said previously, there are no safety or quality issues with Beneful.  It's a high quality, nutritious product that millions of dogs enjoy every day."

But, the Doritys still have a hard time believing Beneful didn't play a role in Mazey’s death.  Hundreds of complaints have been filed on the website Consumer Affairs, and there's even a Facebook page called Beneful Angels, dedicated to dogs that have died.

"We did ask the FDA if they had tested any of the food and the FDA said they did not test any of the food," said Carissa Dority.

Purina did examine the dog food and found nothing wrong with it.  They were looking for mold or other signs of spoilage.

The FDA encourages pet owners to file a complaint if they suspect something is wrong.

“We evaluate the information consumers give us to determine the seriousness of the problem and what follow-up is needed," said Jalil Isa, an FDA spokesperson.

In this case, veterinarians do not think it was the food.