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Purina howls 'nonsense' over dog treat bacon content lawsuit

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A New York dog owner is hounding Nestle Purina Petcare Co. over the bacon content in its Beggin' line of dog treats.

Like a dog with a bone, Paul Kacocha of Dutchess County, New York, has proposed class action status for all consumers who purchased the treats in New York state, Reuters reports. Mr. Kacocha, who owns a West Highland terrier named Sophie, said he and other pet owners paid a premium for the Beggin' products, assuming they were made mostly of real bacon, when in fact the meat is only a miniscule portion of the pet treats.

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The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Mr. Kacocha said customers were misled by how the treats looked, smelled and resembled actual bacon — and the name “Beggin” even sounds like “bacon” — despite being made primarily of “filler” like wheat, corn, water and soy. The packaging features a picture of actual bacon and says the treats are “made with real bacon!” according to the lawsuit. Bacon is 10th on the list of ingredients, behind wheat, corn, sugar and water, among others, the lawsuit said.

One well-known Beggin' commercial that has aired on national television featured a dog jumping on his owner asking, “Where is it? Where's the bacon?” That ad, the lawsuit said, is “an ironic, though unintended metaphor for this entire case.”

The lawsuit is asking for an unspecified amount of damages and says Nestle Purina violated state consumer-protection laws against false and deceptive advertising, according to Reuters.

A Purina spokesman said in a statement the company has always been transparent and accurate in its advertising, marketing and packaging. “The notion that anyone would actually think we're selling bacon is nonsense,” he said.