Companies that were sued over contaminated pet food linked to the deaths of perhaps thousands of dogs and cats have agreed to pay $24 million to pet owners in the United States and Canada.
The settlement is detailed in papers filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court in Camden, N.J. It still needs a judge's approval; a court hearing is set for May 30.
"The settlement attempts to reimburse pet owners for all of their economic damages," said Russell Paul, a lawyer for the plaintiffs.
The deal would affect people who incurred expenses directly related to the illness or death of a pet linked to the food, which in 2007 was at the center of the biggest-ever U.S. pet food recall.
Canada-based Menu Foods Income Fund, which makes pet food under about 90 brand names, and other firms that make or sell pet food announced April 1 that they were settling lawsuits.
The pet food was discovered to contain wheat gluten imported from China that was contaminated with melamine, a chemical used to make plastic. Though Menu was the first company to issue recalls, four other companies eventually recalled pet foods too.