$24 million settlement filed in pet-food recall

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Camden, N.J. - Thousands of pet owners in the United States and Canada could be reimbursed for veterinary bills and pet burial or cremation costs they incurred following last year's massive pet-food recall, under terms of a $24 million settlement filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Camden, N.J.

- Thousands of pet owners in the United States and Canada could be reimbursed for veterinary bills and pet burial or cremation costs they incurred following last year's massive pet-food recall, under terms of a $24 million settlement filed in U.S. District Court in New Jersey.

Ontario-based Menu Foods Inc., which makes about 90 brands of dog and cat foods, and other pet-food makers whose products were part of the recall, agreed to pay $24 million to nearly 300 people who filed suits in state and federal courts, and to thousands of others whose pets became ill or died from foods contaminated with melamine and cyanuric acid.

The terms await a judge's approval before going into effect; a final hearing was set for May 30.

Pet owners could choose whether to be reimbursed for all reasonable costs they incurred, or to receive the fair market value of deceased pets if that is greater. Those who can't document expenses could get up to $900, though all claims would be subject to review.

The pet-food companies, some of which already paid out $8 million in damages, say any funds left from the $24 million after claims are paid will be donated to animal-welfare charities.

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