A New Jersey woman has filed a class action lawsuit over Seresto flea and tick collars, alleging that toxic pesticides used in the collars caused her dog to die of heart problems, and have been linked to thousands of reported problems among pet owners.
The complaint (PDF) was filed by Laura Revolinsky in New Jersey federal court on April 22, naming Elanco Animal Health Incorporated and Bayer Healthcare LLC as defendants.
Seresto flea collars are designed to release small amounts of pesticide onto the skin of cats and dogs for months at a time; to kill fleas, ticks and other pests. However, a report published last month raised serious concerns about problems associated with the products, disclosing for the first time that more than 75,000 adverse health reactions have been reported to federal regulators among humans and pets after coming into contact with Seresto flea and tick collars, including nearly 1,700 pet deaths.
According to the lawsuit, Revolinsky began purchasing Seresto collars about four years ago for her dogs; both King Charles Cavalier Spaniels named Lord Bentley and King Alfred. However, in April 2020, Bentley developed a cough after being placed in one of the collars, and a veterinarian determined he had an enlarged heart and heart murmur. In July 2020, after just three months of wearing the collar, he died.
It was only last month that Revolinsky linked problems reported with Seresto flea collars to what happened to her dog, and immediately stopped using the collars on her surviving dog, King Alfred.
“The Product harmed Mrs. Revolinsky’s dog Bentley to the point that it caused Bentley to pass away from heart disease,” the lawsuit states. “Indeed, many users of the Seresto Collar have reported incidents of their dogs or cats suffering heart arrhythmia.”
Earlier this month, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a Freedom of Information Act complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to obtain thousands of reports the EPA allegedly received regarding problems with the collars. The Center says originally the EPA agreed to hand over the documents by the end of September 2020, but the documents never came.
While the lawsuit does not charge the EPA, it does note that several experts have said the agency turned a “blind eye” to the problem, which could have been stopped, and thousands of pets’ lives saved, if the agency had stepped in earlier.
The lawsuit filed by Revolinsky seeks class action status to pursue damages for other buyers of the collars whose pets died as a result of Seresto collar side effects.
According to allegations raised in the complaint, Elanco Animal Health, Inc. deceptively misrepresented and omitted dangers associated with the pesticides used on the Seresto collars, and never placed a warning about the risks for pets and humans.
In March 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy opened a probe into Elanco’s sales and marketing practices, after documents were disclosed by the FDA about problems experienced by consumers nationwide.
While Elanco has refused to issue a Seresto flea collar recall, the manufacturer has indicated the incident report rate is approximately 0.3%. This suggests that thousands of pet owners have experienced problems with the product, often with devastating consequences.
A growing number of pet owners are now pursuing Seresto flea and tick collar lawsuits against the manufacturer, each involving similar allegations that pets were seriously injured or died due to after experiencing health problems linked to pesticide exposure.