This information was provided me by a source at the Veterinary News Network but I haven’t been able to independently corroborate it yet—I’ll keep you posted and give you a link ASAP. But here’s the scoop:

As if their PR problems weren’t bad enough, Menu Foods recently hired a telemarketing firm. Why? They’re systematically calling all pet owners who have made claims against them after their pets succumbed to death or illness after eating the foods they manufactured.

The phone calls are intended to urge the aggrieved parties to settle their cases. But some tainted food victims’ owners feel they’re being harassed and strong-armed to make decisions before they’ve had a chance to talk to their lawyer or victims’ rights group.

Whenever I get calls from telemarketers I hang up promptly—that’s it. No drama and no stress for either me or the person on the other line (who’s typically not at fault). But this approach still works to inform the caller that I abhor this invasive tactic—as do most of us.

So I’ve got to wonder: Doesn’t Menu Foods know that pet owners hate telemarketers, too? More still when they’re calling to get you to settle a pending legal case. It’s not only sinister and galling—it’s tacky, too.

Sure, I understand that Menu Foods needs to take positive steps to address its own survival. (And they publicly state that they do expect to survive.) But hassling the injured parties with at-home, unsolicited phone calls isn’t the smartest approach I’ve ever heard of. In fact, it may be the most brainless thing they’ve done to date.

Menu Foods needs to hire a PR team, not a telemarketing concern. If it expects to outlive this crisis, it would do well to heed my advice: Start acting like you care about the pets you’ve harmed and, for once, take some time to fret about something other than your own backside.