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Florida sues over tasteless toy marketing

THE United States state of Florida has sued a company that sold dog chew toys depicting a football player imprisoned for dog fighting and dolls modeled after a murdered child, alleging on Thursday that it committed a "disgusting" deception by falsely claiming charities would benefit.

The dog chews depict former National Football League star Michael Vick, who is serving a 23-month sentence for dog fighting. They come in a football or prison uniform.

The dolls depict Caylee Anthony, a 2-year-old Florida girl whose mother is awaiting trial for murdering her and hiding her body in the woods.

Attorney General Bill McCollum filed a lawsuit alleging toy-seller Jaime Salcedo and his Showbiz Promotions LLC comapny misled consumers with claims that proceeds from the dog toys would go to animal shelters and that profits from the dolls would benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

McCollum said the company donated only US$10 to the children's group and none to animal shelters. It was unclear how many toys were sold.

The company suspended sales of the Caylee doll in January because of public outrage. McCollum's lawsuit asks a judge to permanently ban sales of the doll and to fine the company US$10,000 for each violation of the state's law against deceptive and unfair trade.


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