Hartz Mountain ignites a powder keg

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1994:

HARRISON, New Jersey––The Hartz Mountain
Corporation on May 6 lit a powder keg by donating 10 cases
each of Blockade flea and tick repellent to numerous animal
shelters. Blockade hasn’t been controversial recently, but
some shelter staff recalled the history of the product and
responded by not only rejecting the gift, but also setting up
a telephone tree to warn other shelters.
The initial furor erupted in 1987, when Blockade
was introduced. Within a year it was blamed for 366 pet
deaths, 2,700 pet injuries, and 56 “alleged unsubstantiated
human injuries,” according to a letter Hartz Mountain sent
the EPA in December 1987, when it took Blockade off the
market for further testing.

Concluding in 1989 that Blockade was unjustly
blamed for numerous problems it had nothing to do with,
Hartz Mountain reintroduced it with additional warnings
that it should not be used in large amounts, and should not
be used at all on kittens, puppies, pregnant cats, or sick
pets. Hartz Mountain also set up a poisoning hotline (800-
345-4735) to field complaints. Unsatisfied, PETA and the
Humane Society of the U.S. issued advisories against
Blockade. Public suspicion grew in December 1990, when
Hartz Mountain paid the EPA $45,000––as the first firm
ever penalized for failing to report all pesticide-related ill-
ness and injury complaints. The issue, however, was how
Hartz Mountain handled the allegations, not their substance.
Hartz Mountain vice president William Perlberg
told ANIMAL PEOPLE that the company had wrongly
presumed the controversy was over. “Shelters are always
asking us for donations,” he said, “and we thought that
since we know it’s going to be a bad flea and tick summer,
we thought we’d help them get a jump on the situation by
sending our products out before they asked.”
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