It’s the second time in his life he’s felt strongly enough about something to protest.
On Saturday, that’s exactly what David Gibbs, 65, of Nevada was doing. Gibbs, a disabled veteran who served during the Viet Nam War-era, even after protesting against that particular war, was holding a peaceful protest at the entry to the parking lot of the local Dollar General store in Nevada. He did so, he explained, to bring forth awareness of pet product safety and his concerns about the dangers of the Ever Pet brand that Dollar General carries.
On Dec. 23, his therapy dog Greta, a 2 1/2-year-old Golden Retriever, had just received a dog toy of that brand, he said, and within minutes, it came apart and the dog inhaled part of the toy. The inhaled piece eventually became lodged in Greta’s lower intestine, causing the dog to become violently ill and requiring a $1,500 emergency surgery to have it removed and save the dog’s life.
As Greta healed, Gibbs dug in and researched the Ever Pet brand at Dollar General and found pages of other concerns from consumers about that brand of products. He handed over that information to the Nevada Journal, showing how other people have shared stories about pets being sick, injured or even dying after eating Ever Pet food or playing with Ever Pet toys.
“I just feel it’s a slap in the consumer’s face to not be accountable,” Gibbs said. He said he made a number of calls to the corporate Dollar General offices, but none of them were returned. On Saturday, he was pleased to report, however, that one hour before his protest started, he did receive a call back from the Dollar General district manager. He hopes they can talk a little more at some point.
The Journal reached out to Dollar General’s corporate offices Monday and received an email back from Crystal Ghassemi, in public relations with Dollar General Corporation, who stated, “Dollar General strives to provide its customers with safe and quality products, all of which either meet or exceed all federal and state safety guidelines, as well as our own standards and our customers’ expectations.”
Ghassemi said Dollar General had been in touch with Mr. Gibbs (as of Monday afternoon), and was “currently working to identify whether the pet toy in question was purchased at Dollar General.”
Gibbs followed all legal procedures for holding a peaceful protest, after talking with the Nevada Police Department about what he could and couldn’t do, and he said the local Dollar General employees were very kind to him.
As people pulled up to see what he was doing, Gibbs had a chance to talk to them about his concerns about the pet products sold at Dollar General, and really about all pet products — expensive or inexpensive — and how closely you must check them over to be sure they won’t hurt your pet. The toy that his dog inhaled part of had a head on it that was only connected by a single thread. Gibbs found this out after it was too late. “That isn’t good enough,” he said.
Gibbs hopes his protest helps educate the public. He also wanted to bring awareness to his fundraising efforts to help pay for Greta’s surgery. A Go Fund Me account has been set up with all donations going to the Story County Vet Clinic, and any donations over the $1,500 amount, going to the Story County Humane Society. He said he will put up flyers around Nevada and Ames, but for those reading this story, you can find the Go Fund Me Page for Greta at www.gofundme.com/gretas-vet-expenses.