Boy Dies From Rat-Bite Fever From Family Pet

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A family is suing a pet shop following the death of their son who was bitten by a rat bought by his Grandmother.

Ten-year-old Aidan Pankey died after contracting rat-bite fever from the pet which was bought from Petco in San Diego in 2013.

Aidan first had a female rat and wanted to get a male to ‘marry’ her. The child went to Petco with his Grandmother who helped him pick out “Alex” the rat.

Two weeks after buying the rat, Aidan fell ill. He died just two days later. After examination, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that his death was caused by rat-bite fever.

Rat-bite fever may be caught from a number of rodents – including rats, gerbils and mice. People can contract it from scratches and bites and even just from handling infected animals, or from drinking or eating something contaminated with the bacteria.

The illness can be treated and cured with antibiotics if treated quickly enough – and deaths are usually quite rare.

After losing Aidan, the Pankey family filed a law suit in February 2014, and claim that the pet-shop-chain does not test potentially sick rats before they sell them.

The trial recently saw the family’s lawyers argue that Petco knew that it was selling rats that could be infected, and that it knew people were getting ill – but did not do anything to address the situation.

Aidan’s father, Andrew, told CBS 8: “I’m fighting this case to protect some children because I don’t want this to happen to another family. I still talk to him, tell him I love him – that daddy is not going give up.”

Petco’s lawyers are saying that there’s no way the company would be able to check every single one of the millions of rat its sells. They say that customers are handed information about the dangers of buying a rat within the general instructions.

Petco’s lawyers also said that the company cannot ‘change the nature of an animal’.

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