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Photo courtesy of U.S. Border Patrol and Customs

Pittsburgh -- Throughout April and May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Pittsburgh have collected 13 international parcels containing counterfeit cat and dog flea collars with the Bayer Seresto brand name on them. These bootleg collars can range from completely ineffective to dangerous and anything in-between.

Thirty-one cat collars and 27 dog collars were seized.

CBP officers started to detain shipments with the Bayer Seresto brand label in mid April and confirmed with Bayer that the items were counterfeit. The shipments came from China and Hong Kong and were addressed to locations in Allegheny, Beaver, Fayette, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties.

If successfully passed off as the real thing, the collars could have sold for over $3,500 based on Bayer's suggested retail price.

"A cheap or off-brand collar may need to be replaced more often than one that you get from your veterinarian or a reputable dealer," Sabrina Rider of Wolf Run Veterinary Clinic told NCPA staff. "They can also cause chemical burns or hair loss. Always buy your collars from a veterinarian's office or reputable dealer."

Rider also warned NCPA staff about online marketplaces. Retailers like Walmart and Amazon are Bayer-approved Seresto collar sellers, but third-party sellers may use these websites to convincingly pass off fakes while taking advantage of the host site's authorization. Anyone who suspects that their collar is fake should contact their veterinarian or Bayer for assistance.

Ways to tell if a Seresto collar is counterfeit

  • Genuine Seresto collars come in a tin with the top label printed directly on it. If the top label is a sticker, it is a fake product.
  • If there is a manufacture or expiration date printed on the tin, the collar is fake. The real tins will have no date.
  • The inside of a genuine Seresto collar tin's lid is a shiny metallic color. A non-metallic interior is a sign of a fake.
  • Inside of the tin, a genuine Seresto collar is wrapped in a plastic bag with a picture of a dog or cat and text printed on it, a separately-wrapped set of reflective clips, and a small instruction manual.
  • If your Seresto collar has a "chemical" or "essential oil" smell, it is fake.
  • Text on the collar itself should be embossed, not stamped or printed.

CBP officers in Harrisburg have also seized 15 packages from Hong Kong containing 86,400 bootleg Pokemon figurines. The packages were addressed to Snyder County and had an estimated retail value of $604,000.

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Border Patrol and Customs

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.