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The end of hypoallergenic cats?

A controversial company that claimed to develop hypoallergenic cats and dogs will bow out of the companion animal business and launch a new venture focused on veterinary diagnostic services starting next year, according to a statement sent out in their corporate newsletter this Sunday (29th November). Image: Wikimedia Commons"Following our recent acquisition, the business will be taking a new direction from 2010, specifically, fine-tuning and launching our proprietary veterinary genetic molecul

By | December 1, 2009

A controversial company that claimed to develop hypoallergenic cats and dogs will bow out of the companion animal business and launch a new venture focused on veterinary diagnostic services starting next year, according to a statement sent out in their corporate newsletter this Sunday (29th November).
Image: Wikimedia Commons
"Following our recent acquisition, the business will be taking a new direction from 2010, specifically, fine-tuning and launching our proprietary veterinary genetic molecular diagnostic products," reads a statement from the company, called Allerca Lifestyle Pets. The statement did not indicate which company had acquired it, but noted that this information, as well as details on its new business model, will be announced publicly early next year. Allerca said that it will stop taking new orders for its two breeds of hypoallergenic cats and one dog breed as of December 31, 2010, but will continue filling already-placed orders through 2010 and early 2011. Allerca has been fraught with controversy ever since its 2004 launch. When __The Scientist__ linkurl:investigated;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/home/39383/ Allerca's claimed production of a hypoallergenic cat in late 2006, founder Simon Brodie evaded being interviewed at the company's Southern California headquarters, canceling several appointments with little advance notice. The inquiry and other previous investigations did reveal, though, that Brodie had been sued many times for failing to pay rent, failing to deliver pets to customers who paid hefty deposits, and other alleged offenses both before and after he started the company. In the 1990's Brodie was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for false accounting in his native England. Allerca's cats and supposedly satisfied customers did, however, appear on national television shows, and the cats, which Allerca claimed were bred to have modified versions of a particular allergenic protein -- Fel d 1 -- were purportedly delivered to several people, at a cost of up to $22,000 per animal. In Sunday's statement, Allerca claims to have supplied "hundreds of clients" with hypoallergenic dogs and cats. The company's linkurl:website;http://www.allerca.com/html/catallergies.html lists approximately 20 supposed testimonials from customers who claim to have received hypoallergenic pets. However, Allerca published no scientific proof that their pets are in fact hypoallergenic, and subsequent investigations conducted by __The Scientist__ found several disappointed customers who were essentially told that they were linkurl:too allergic;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/53265/ to receive Allerca cats. Then in January last year, Dutch authorities linkurl:seized;http://legacy.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080205/news_1b5cats.html three of Allerca's "Ashera" cats and a Pennsylvania breeder claimed that the cats were in fact Savannah's (a pricey, but allergenic, breed) that were purchased from his facility. Dissatisfied customers have also posted linkurl:several;http://consumerist.com/2009/04/allerca-wheres-my-4000-hypoallergenic-cat.html linkurl:blogs;http://www.worldlawdirect.com/forum/money-frauds-scams/28122-simon-brodie-allerca-lifestyle-pets-fraud-carradan-skis.html scattered across the internet complaining that they paid for their pet from Allerca but never received it or their money back. At least two blogs -- linkurl:__Allerca Lifestyle Pet Rip-Off__;http://www.lifestylepets-ripoff.com/index.html and linkurl:__Is Allerca a Scam?__;http://allercascam.blogspot.com/ -- are devoted entirely to the issue. In Sunday's statement, the company hinted that its cat and dog days might not be over. "There is a slight possibility that a third party may license the hypoallergenic side of the business and the business is in discussion with various interested parties. Should a licensing agreement complete, we will make a further public announcement," the statement reads. The company did not respond to calls and an email asking for comment.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Is Murray hypoallergenic?;http://www.the-scientist.com/2009/06/1/21/1/
[June 2009]*linkurl:A wild cat chase;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54945/
[25th August 2008]*linkurl:Cat trouble brewing;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/54020/
[4th December 2007]*linkurl:Felis Enigmaticus;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/39383/
[January 2007]
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