‘UNREPENTANT’ DEALER SENTENCED FOR FRAUDULENT ANIMAL DRUGS
A California animal drug dealer was sentenced to six months in prison on August 27 for criminal contempt of a 1988 consent decree prohibiting her
from doing business in unapproved new animal drugs.
The therapeutic claims made for the drugs were fraudulent, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory A. Vega, who prosecuted the case.
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Sissy Harrington-McGill, president and sole owner of Solid Gold Health Products for Pets Inc., El Cajon, Calif., was found guilty of the charge on
July 12 after a three day trial. Her corporation, also known as the Solid Gold Holistic Animal-Equine Nutrition Center, was fined $10,000 and placed
on five years probation — meaning that its operations will be scrutinized by the court for this period.
Chief Judge Gordon Thompson, Jr., of the California Federal District Court in San Diego, ordered Harrington-McGill taken into custody
immediately. He said at no time did she acknowledge any guilt and was “totally unrepentant.”
In the 1988 ruling, FDA had obtained a permanent injunction against the defendants barring them from manufacturing, marketing and promoting drugs
they claimed would treat a wide range of serious animal diseases, including cancer, arthritis and immunological disorders. The products — herbal
mixtures, nutritional supplements and food additives — were classified as drugs because of the claims to treat disease conditions.
So successful were the defendant’s promotional efforts — often carried out at national and international horse, dog and cat shows — that the
business expanded from a residential basement operation to warehousing and manufacturing facilities in an industrial park, a van delivery network in
southern California and an international product distribution operation.
The company reportedly grossed nearly one million dollars in sales in 1989. Its products included “Solid Gold Concept-A-Mare,” “Solid Gold
Equi-Calm,” “Solid Gold Energy Plus,” and “Solid Gold Herbal Wormer.”
The court agreed with FDA that Solid Gold Health Products had defrauded customers of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, had continued to put
animal lives at risk, deterred consumers from obtaining effective veterinary drugs and endangered animal handlers and pet owners by exposing them to
The court concluded that although Harrington-McGill fully understood the provisions in the consent decree, she never had any intention of complying
with them and had spent the past two years corresponding with FDA while continuing to sell the prohibited products.