More than 23,000 pet owners in the United States have asked for money from a $24 million settlement for owners of dogs and cats who were sickened or died after eating pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical.
U.S. pet owners with claims were set to start receiving checks sometime in 2009, but their payments could be held up even longer while a judge sorts out last-minute appeals to the settlement filed by four people.
The legal snag pits lawyers against lawyers in a complex and emotionally fraught case.
"If one of their objections succeeds, the class comes unraveled," said Kenneth A. Wexler, a Chicago lawyer involved in working out a settlement.
The case began in March 2007, when dogs and cats mysteriously started getting sick. It turned out that the common thread was pet food produced under nearly 200 labels — much of it by the Menu Foods Income Fund in Streetsville, Ontario.