In a lawsuit filed in Cambridge District Court, Andrea Rutherford claims the companies violated an implied warranty that Merck's HomeAgain chip was safe, and seeks “reasonable compensatory damages and interest.’’ The devices contain chips that transmit an ID code and can be scanned so lost pets are returned to their owners (read more here). Merck acquired the Home Again product line when it bought Schering-Plough and its Intervet animal health business.
Animal rights lawyer Steven Wise, who is Rutherford’s attorney, tells the Globe that she filed suit to explore whether tracking chips are a major cause of health problems in pets. “We’re about to find out whether this is a big problem or a small problem,’’ he says. Rutherford had a HomeAgain chip implanted in her pet cat, called Bulkin, in February 2005, but in October 2007, a vet removed a malignant tumor from the cat - and the chip was found in the middle of the tumor, according to the lawsuit. Bulkin later was given chemo and radiation, and has survived, according to the paper.
Bulkin, however, is now a poster cat for ChipMeNot.org, a pet advocacy group that argues against the use of microchips in pets. "Corporations must be held accountable when their products take innocent lives. It is time for the truth to be told: implantable microchips pose a health risk to pets," according to a statement from Katherine Albrecht, who runs the site.
Maybe animal health isn't the cat's meow, after all?