Infected Rat Bite Kills Boy: Petco Blamed

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Aidan Pankey was the proud owner of a pet rat he named Oreo. According to friends and family members, Oreo and Aidan were inseparable and went everywhere together. Although Oreo seemed like the perfect companion for Aidan, the rat would eventually lead to his death. Aiden died two weeks after purchasing the rat and although it took a while for the family to find out the cause of death, they recently revealed that it was due to a bite from Oreo the rat.

Oreo was infected and her bite caused Aidan to catch rat bite fever. Rat bite fever is an infectious disease caused by bacteria. Symptoms of the disease include fever, vomiting, headache, muscle pain and sometimes a rash. Aiden only showed signs of being sick for one day before he died.

The family is upset that the rat Aiden loved so much ended up causing his death and they are blaming Petco, the store where the rat was purchased. The family has filed a lawsuit against Petco, claiming they were negligent in making sure the rat was not infected.

"Clearly there were not sufficient safety procedures in place at Petco when they sold this rat," the family's attorney, Hamilton Arendsen of Gomez Trial Attorneys, said.

The family hopes that the lawsuit will prevent other people from buying and being bitten by infected rats.

Petco released a statement about the incident saying,

At Petco, we follow what we believe are the industry’s strongest standards for companion animal health and welfare, and we require our vendors to meet the same standards for animal care and well-being. We require our live animal suppliers to meet or exceed USDA requirements for the care and treatment of animals, as well as follow strict requirements for housing, feeding, breeding, shipping and caring for sick or injured animals. We leave specific testing protocols to be determined by our vendors unless we identify a reason for concern. We’re saddened by the Pankey family’s tragic loss and are very interested in speaking directly with the family to better understand their claims.

Do you think Petco is to blame for the boy's death?

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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