I ran across a story on Olive's blog, and feel compelled to take action and share it with everyone.
The original story can be found at The Chai Story, and is heartbreaking. WARNING! Some of the pictures/videos are incredibly difficult and graphic. I do not know if this woman's story is altogether true; there are obviously always two sides. However, the behavior she describes of the company-- Four Paws-- is not at all uncommon or unbelievable. In any case, I believe the story she tells of her dog and the pictures she provides. The company claims that they have enacted a voluntary recall, but my local pet store still carries the product (and has no recall warning posted). In addition, as of today (Thursday August 21, 2008), the toy is still listed on the company's website.
**Edit** I initially called for a boycott of this company's products, but I have since contacted the company and they told me that they sent out the information to their distributors yesterday, which would give little time for the information to appear today. I also suggested to her that while the products are not available on the website for purchase, there should be a notification listed on the website of the unsafe toy and the progress being made toward its rectification. The lady was very open to this idea and promised that this would occur. **End Edit**
This is scary to me because I remember that our Scottish Terrier my family had when I was in high school played with a toy very similar to this one (I don't know if the company was the same one). I remember a few times where he had minor difficulty getting it out of his mouth, which I attributed at the time as being of the same variety as eating his own poop and vomit-- silly, odd behavior (I was in high school, remember?). Fortunately, nothing serious happened, and as this link shows, not all encounters end up as poorly as Chai's did. However, the potential is there, and everyone should IMMEDIATELY throw away this toy if they have it in their dog's stash.
Until evidence can be provided that this problem has been solved, I encourage everyone to write a letter of solidarity and avoid all Four Paws products. There are plenty of better toys and better companies out there. I enclose at the end a copy of the letter I sent to the CEO, who can be contacted via email at hbirk[at]fourpaws[dot]com, or by phone at (631) 434-1100.
Mr. Allen Simon,
I recently read of the injury sustained by several dogs while playing with a toy your company manufactures-- Pimple Ball with Bell (Item #20227-001, UPC Code 0 4566320227 9). This toy is unsafe in its design and should be recalled from toy shelves. I am personally enacting a boycott of your entire product line. Furthermore, I am encouraging this boycott of all your products to all whom I can contact via the blogosphere, the Internet, in stores, or interpersonally. This will be in effect until you physically recall the unsafe toy and issue a written warning on your website.
G. Spencer Owen