Lawsuit against Petco: Trial over boy’s rat bite fever death begins

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 11, 2017 in Rat News
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – Opening statements began Wednesday in the case of a boy who died after being bitten by a rat that was purchased from a Petco store.

Ten-year-old Aidan Pankey died in 2013 from rat bite fever two weeks after the pet rat purchased by his grandmother bit him.

In a lawsuit filed against Petco, the Pankey family claims the store sold them a diseased pet rat.

“What this case is about is Petco selling rats that had a deadly bacteria to people, including children, and as a result 10-year-old Aidan Pankey died,” said Bibianne Fell, the plaintiff’s attorney.

In court, Fell painted the picture of a little boy who never got the chance to grow up and a grief-stricken dad who will never get to experience more special moments shared between a father and son.

She showed a video of Aidan Pankey doing a flip on a trampoline, something she said was supposed to be a gift to his dad on Father’s Day.

“You’ll hear that Aidan never had the chance to give that to his father because shortly before Father’s Day, Aidan passed away,” Fell said. “Andrew (Aidan’s father) was able to find this on his phone after he had died.”

RELATED: Court ruling could have impact on pet stores across California

During her opening statement, Fell wrote down the names of people from across the country she said contracted rat bite fever from Petco rats. She said this is an illness Petco knew of.

“These are all the people who got very sick, reported it to Petco all before Aidan Pankey ever walked in to purchase his rat,” she said. “You will hear that the warnings didn’t change, the process didn’t change.”

In the defendant’s opening statement, Petco’s attorney Kimberly Oberrecht said, “From 2001 to 2013, Petco sold around 5 million rats — 5 million.”

Of those, she said, there were 16 claims.

“All of those people in those prior claims got treatment, got antibiotics and recovered,” she said.

Oberrecht told the jury there are risks with owning any pet. She said rats carry bacteria that can make you sick.

Petco knew this and is not denying it, but Oberrecht said Petco warned about it.

“There is no way to prevent rat bite fever in these rats that are sold, and it’s been this way for a very long time,” she told the jury.

Oberrecht said rat bite fever is a rare disease, but one that’s very treatable.

Oberrecht read from a document Aidan’s grandmother signed when she purchased the pet. She said it states: “I release Petco from any and all responsibility related to illness injury or damage that may occur from exposure to my pet.”

“Ms. Pankey signed this document acknowledging that she read it, that she read the caution statements,” she added.

Article source: http://www.10news.com/news/lawsuit-against-petco-trial-over-boys-rat-bite-fever-death-begins

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SPCA to the rescue as pets left at home break hearts of Edgecumbe …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 10, 2017 in Rat News
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Bekah-Jane Horton responded: “Easier said than done, took dogs but left behind rabbits and cats, made sure they had food and water. rabbits have 2 storied hutches, heart breaks for them but limited time had to get my kids out”.

Article source: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/spca-rescue-pets-left-home-break-hearts-edgecumbe-evacuees

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SPCA to the rescue as pets left at home break hearts of Edgecumbe evacuees

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 9, 2017 in Rat News
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Bekah-Jane Horton responded: “Easier said than done, took dogs but left behind rabbits and cats, made sure they had food and water. rabbits have 2 storied hutches, heart breaks for them but limited time had to get my kids out”.

Article source: https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/spca-rescue-pets-left-home-break-hearts-edgecumbe-evacuees

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Petco Sued After Pet Rat Bites Boy: Boy Dies From Rat Bite Fever

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 8, 2017 in Rat News
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Petco has been sued after a pet rat bit a boy, and the boy died from rat bite fever. The pet rat was said to have tested positive for streptobacillus moniliformis, also known as rat bite fever, Inside Edition reported.

The family has officially sued Petco, who sold them the pet rat in 2013. But when the pet was taken home, it bit the 10-year-old boy. Days later, the boy was suffering severe stomach pains. Hours after taking him to the hospital, the boy was dead.

It was revealed that the boy tested positive for rat bite fever, a rare but fatal infection. According to Inside Edition, rate bite fever is so rare that only 16 people have been confirmed to have contracted the illness between 2001 and 2013. All 16 people were treated and cured from the infection with no issue, making the little boy’s case extremely rare.

Petco told reporters that they have sold roughly five-million rats between 2001 and 2013, and everyone must sign a health hazard paper prior to taking the rats home. The boy’s grandmother signed the health hazard form when she bought him the pet rat.

Petco attorney Kimberly Oberrecht said that this is sad and tragic, but not a unique case for Petco.

“There are risks with owning any pets.”

According to CBS 8, the boy’s grandmother bought the rodent for him just two weeks before he contracted the illness and was taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, where he later died from rate bite fever.

Petco sued after a boy dies of rat bite fever.
[Image by Damian Dovarganes/AP Images]

Petco revealed that they buy the rats from a supplier called Barney’s Pets. Although Petco claims that they list the health hazards, the plaintiff’s attorney Bibianne Fell argued that they did not list the warning about rat bite fever where it can be seen by customers.

Rat bite fever is spread by the saliva of rats, therefore they do not need to bite people in order to spread the disease. People who are bitten by rats can also contract tetanus, Orkin reveals.

Some symptoms of rat bite fever are fever, swollen lymph nodes, swelling, muscle aches, headaches, vomiting, and sometimes an ulcer on the bite site. It is very rare for a human to contract rat bite fever.

According to Healthy Children, rat bite fever can also be spread by measles, squirrels, cats, and mice, but is almost always contracted by rats. Rat bite fever can rarely be caused by contaminated milk or food products.

Symptoms of rate bite fever typically take 7-21 days to appear after contracting the disease. Rate bite fever can be cured quite easily, with penicillin for 7-10 days intravenously or by injection. If treatment is provided promptly, most children with rate bite fever completely recover.

CDC revealed that at least two other deaths have occurred due to rat bite fever. A healthy Florida woman, who worked at a pet store, was bitten by a rat just four days before showing up at the hospital with abdominal pain, lethargy, headaches and other symptoms of rat bite fever. After a severe decline in health, she passed away in the ICU.

A 19-year-old woman from Washington was also a victim of rat bite fever. After she was taken to the hospital once her symptoms were reported to emergency services, she unfortunately died by the time she made it to the hospital. Although she did not have any obvious bites, she tested positive for rat bite fever. It was further revealed that the woman had nine pet rats and was a dog groomer.

[Featured Image by TONY DEJAK/AP Images]

Article source: http://www.inquisitr.com/4113788/petco-sued-after-pet-rat-bites-boy-boy-dies-from-rat-bite-fever/

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Boy Dies From Rat-Bite Fever After Buying Pet Rat

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 7, 2017 in Rat News
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Ten-year-old Aiden Pankey was rushed to the hospital on June 12, 2013, with severe stomach pain. As the Associated Press reports, Aiden had woken up during the night with a fever, stomach problems, and severe pain. He was pale, lethargic, and could not walk. Aiden died later that afternoon.

In 2014, his parents sued Petco after it was discovered Aiden died from a streptobacillus moniliformis infection, also known as rat-bite fever. He had come home from the San Diego pet store chain on May 27, 2013, with a new pet rat named “Alex” that had been purchased by his grandma.

As the AP reports, in the lawsuit filed by Andrew Pankey and Vanessa Sauer, Aiden’s parents allege that Petco should have tested the rat for the disease. The pet store should have also posted warnings about the potential risks of owning a rat, especially among children.

According to The San Diego Tribune, on April 5, 2017, a lawyer for the family, Bibianne Fell, told jurors in her opening remarks at the San Diego Superior Court that Petco knew of the “hidden danger” of rat-bite fever, as there were dozens of reported cases of adults and children getting sick after buying rats from Petco:

“Despite this, you will hear that Petco is still selling rats to kids and kids are still getting sick. To this day,” she added, “Petco is still selling rats.”

Attorneys for Petco and Barney’s Pets, who supplied the rats, claim that testing each rat sold across Petco stores in the United States is impossible, and that customers are warned of the inherent risks of rat ownership.

They contend that customers — including Aiden’s grandmother — are given a form to sign upon purchasing a rat that alerts them to rat-bite fever.

However, citing the seven to thirteen percent mortality rate if rat-bite fever is left untreated, Fell stated that the risk of death is not made clear in the warning.

The AP reports the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as stating:

According to the CDC, people can contract rat-bite fever from bites or scratches from infected rodents, such as rats, mice and gerbils, or even just by handling an animal with the disease without a bite or scratch. It can also be contracted by consuming food or drink contaminated with the bacteria. It is not spread from person to person.

There was no evidence at the time of Aiden’s death that he had been bitten.

According to Inside Edition.com, Petco claimed to have sold five million rats between 2001 and 2013. During that time, sixteen people were reported to have contracted the disease but were treated and recovered. Antibiotics such as penicillin are reportedly effective for treating rat-bite fever, and the CDC also states that the disease is rarely fatal.

Aiden’s father is seeking an unspecified amount of damage, reports The San Diego Tribune. His mother reportedly settled with Petco before the case went to trial.

According to the AP, the number of cases of rat-bite fever might be increasing especially among children, due to the popularity of pet rats. The bacteria that causes rat-bite fever is a part of their normal respiratory system.

Article source: http://ijr.com/2017/04/842482-son-dies-after-flu-like-symptoms-are-traced-back-to-bringing-home-a-new-pet/

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Parents Sue Petco After 10-Year-Old Son Dies From Pet Rat Bite Fever

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 6, 2017 in Rat News
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A California boy was always thought to be a cheerful kid due to his random, almost uncontrollable fits of laughter — but then his family discovered it was all related to a serious illness.

Article source: http://www.cbs8.com/story/35044556/parents-sue-petco-after-10-year-old-son-dies-from-pet-rat-bite-fever

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Agreement bars ad firm from targeting women entering clinics

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 5, 2017 in Rat News
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A civil trial against Petco is underway in San Diego, where a 10-year-old boy died in 2013 after playing with a rat that his grandmother bought him at the pet store chain. 

Aiden Pankey died hours after being taken to the hospital with severe stomach pains. The San Diego Union Tribune reported that a doctor initially diagnosed Aiden’s upset stomach, fever and chills as the flu. 

The boy was told to drink plenty of fluids and rest. By the following night, his symptoms had grown so severe that he was lethargic and could not walk on his own. 

He was rushed to the hospital, where he died the following morning. 

NBC 7 in San Diego reported that the San Diego County medical examiner ruled his cause of death as streptobacillus moniliformis, or rat bite fever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later confirmed that Aiden’s pet rat was infected with the dangerous bacteria. 

Aiden had the rat, which he named Alex, for two weeks before he died, the Union Tribune reported

Read more trending stories

The Pankey family sued Petco, claiming that the company failed to protect consumers from potentially dangerous pets. Petco attorneys said there are dangers with any pet and that it is impossible to test all rats that it sells for the disease. 

Inside Edition reported that Petco attorneys said the company sold nearly 5 million rats between 2001 and 2013, but there were only 16 complaints during that time of people becoming sick with rat bite fever. The people in those cases recovered after undergoing treatment. 

Petco also said that Aiden’s grandmother signed a document about health hazards when she bought the rat. 

Jurors last week were shown a pamphlet given to Aiden and his grandmother when they bought the rat that included a paragraph on rat bite fever, NBC 7 reported. The pamphlet did not indicate that the bacteria can be spread by touching an infected rodent. 

According to the CDC, a person can get rat bite fever from bites or scratches from infected rodents, including rats, mice and gerbils, or by eating or drinking food or drink contaminated with the bacteria. 

The disease can also be contracted simply by handling an infected rodent.

Symptoms, which typically occur three to 10 days after exposure, include fever, vomiting, headache, muscle and joint pain and a rash, the CDC said. In some instances, however, symptoms are delayed up to three weeks, when any bites or scratches have already healed. 

Treatment with antibiotics, usually penicillin, is highly effective, the CDC said. Death from the bacteria is rare, but possible if the disease goes untreated. 

Read more about rat bite fever here. 

An attorney for the Pankey family posed several questions during opening statements about Petco’s actions, questioning whether Aiden’s rat should have been tested for rat bite fever before the sale, whether Petco’s warning about the disease was sufficient and whether Petco knew of other cases of rat bite fever in animals sold at the San Diego location where Aiden’s rat was purchased. 

The attorney, Bibianne Fell, said San Diego County had seen two other cases of rat bite fever, both in people who bought rats from Petco. 

“(Petco) had knowledge that its customers, children it was selling its pet rats to, were contracting rat bite fever from those rats and getting very, very sick,” Fell said, according to NBC 7

Fell also told jurors that in the months leading up to Aiden’s death, the supplier of Petco’s rats had multiple animals test positive for the disease. 

Attorneys for Petco and the supplier, Barney’s Pet Supply, said testing each rat sold is impossible and that no suppliers in the U.S. perform universal testing. 

Article source: http://www.whio.com/news/health-med-fit-science/agreement-bars-firm-from-targeting-women-entering-clinics/3WRcPc3DiSUVQp7pSiwhZL/

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Family sues Petco after 10-year-old son dies of rat bite fever

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 4, 2017 in Rat News
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by: Crystal Bonvillian, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Updated: Apr 4, 2017 – 1:26 PM


Twinkee, a 14-week-old baby domestic rat, is held at the MSPCA in Boston Thursday, May 26, 2005.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

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SAN DIEGO – A civil trial against Petco is underway in San Diego, where a 10-year-old boy died in 2013 after playing with a rat that his grandmother bought him at the pet store chain. 

Aiden Pankey died hours after being taken to the hospital with severe stomach pains. The San Diego Union Tribune reported that a doctor initially diagnosed Aiden’s upset stomach, fever and chills as the flu. 

The boy was told to drink plenty of fluids and rest. By the following night, his symptoms had grown so severe that he was lethargic and could not walk on his own. 

He was rushed to the hospital, where he died the following morning. 

NBC 7 in San Diego reported that the San Diego County medical examiner ruled his cause of death as streptobacillus moniliformis, or rat bite fever.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later confirmed that Aiden’s pet rat was infected with the dangerous bacteria. 

Aiden had the rat, which he named Alex, for two weeks before he died, the Union Tribune reported

Read more trending stories

The Pankey family sued Petco, claiming that the company failed to protect consumers from potentially dangerous pets. Petco attorneys said there are dangers with any pet and that it is impossible to test all rats that it sells for the disease. 

Inside Edition reported that Petco attorneys said the company sold nearly 5 million rats between 2001 and 2013, but there were only 16 complaints during that time of people becoming sick with rat bite fever. The people in those cases recovered after undergoing treatment. 

Petco also said that Aiden’s grandmother signed a document about health hazards when she bought the rat. 

Jurors last week were shown a pamphlet given to Aiden and his grandmother when they bought the rat that included a paragraph on rat bite fever, NBC 7 reported. The pamphlet did not indicate that the bacteria can be spread by touching an infected rodent. 

According to the CDC, a person can get rat bite fever from bites or scratches from infected rodents, including rats, mice and gerbils, or by eating or drinking food or drink contaminated with the bacteria. 

The disease can also be contracted simply by handling an infected rodent.

Symptoms, which typically occur three to 10 days after exposure, include fever, vomiting, headache, muscle and joint pain and a rash, the CDC said. In some instances, however, symptoms are delayed up to three weeks, when any bites or scratches have already healed. 

Treatment with antibiotics, usually penicillin, is highly effective, the CDC said. Death from the bacteria is rare, but possible if the disease goes untreated. 

Read more about rat bite fever here.

An attorney for the Pankey family posed several questions during opening statements about Petco’s actions, questioning whether Aiden’s rat should have been tested for rat bite fever before the sale, whether Petco’s warning about the disease was sufficient and whether Petco knew of other cases of rat bite fever in animals sold at the San Diego location where Aiden’s rat was purchased. 

The attorney, Bibianne Fell, said San Diego County had seen two other cases of rat bite fever, both in people who bought rats from Petco. 

“(Petco) had knowledge that its customers, children it was selling its pet rats to, were contracting rat bite fever from those rats and getting very, very sick,” Fell said, according to NBC 7

Fell also told jurors that in the months leading up to Aiden’s death, the supplier of Petco’s rats had multiple animals test positive for the disease. 

Attorneys for Petco and the supplier, Barney’s Pet Supply, said testing each rat sold is impossible and that no suppliers in the U.S. perform universal testing. 

“There are no suppliers of rats that can guarantee that they do not carry this bacteria,” Kimberly Oberrecht, an attorney for Petco, said. “It’s not the customary practice. No one can do it.”

Article source: http://www.fox25boston.com/news/trending-now/family-sues-petco-after-10yearold-son-dies-of-rat-bite-fever/509017281

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Parents sue Petco after 10-year-old son dies from pet rat bite

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 3, 2017 in Rat News
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A civil trial has begun in the heartbreaking case of a 10-year-old boy who died from rat bite fever, his parents blame the store that sold the rodent.

Aiden Pankey died in 2013 after contracting the rare and deadly bacteria from a rat purchased at a San Diego Petco by his grandmother.

Aiden’s family is suing the pet store giant, claiming it failed to protect consumers from potentially dangerous pets. Petco says it acted legally and it’s impossible to test every rat for the bacteria and said its pet sourcing is generally safe.

“[Petco] had knowledge that its customers, children, it was selling its pet rats to, were contracting rat bite fever from those rats and getting very, very sick,” attorney Bibianne Fell argued on behalf of the Pankey family at opening statements Wednesday.

In 2013, Aiden was rushed to a San Diego hospital with severe stomach pains. Hours later, he was dead.

The CDC later confirmed the boy’s pet rat was infected with streptobacillus moniliformis, better known as rat bite fever, and had passed it on to Aiden.

But according to the store’s attorney, cases like Aiden’s are extremely rare.

Petco says it sold nearly 5 million rats between 2001 and 2013 with only 16 claims of people contracting the disease and the people in those cases were treated and recovered.

What’s more, Petco says the boy’s grandmother, like all other Petco customers, signed a document about health hazards when she purchased the rat.

Petco attorney Kimberly Oberrecht called the case a “sad and tragic situation,” but said the situation is not unique to Petco.

“There are risks with owning any pets,” Oberrecht said.

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Article source: http://www.ksat.com/inside-edition/parents-sue-petco-after-10yearold-son-dies-from-pet-rat-bite-fever_

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Petco Rats Need Bigger Warning, Jury Told

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 2, 2017 in Rat News
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SAN DIEGO (CN) – Pet care company Petco shouldn’t sell pet rats given the risk they carry the bacteria that causes rat bite fever, an attorney for the family of a boy who died after contracting the illness told a state court jury Wednesday.

Andrew Pankey’s son Aidan died June 11, 2013, just hours after being hospitalized for severe pain, fever and stomach problems.

Two weeks before Aidan’s death, his grandmother Sharon Pankey had bought him a pet rat from a Petco store in north San Diego County for $7.49.

While Aidan wasn’t bitten or scratched by his new pet, he contracted rat bite fever. The disease can be spread by handling the animals and not washing your hands afterward, or by coming in contact with the animal’s bodily fluids.

His father Andrew Pankey sued Petco in 2014 and is asking the jury to award past medical expenses and damages for the loss of his son, as well as punitive damages.

Pankey’s attorney Bibianne Fell of Gomez Trial Attorneys told jurors during her opening statements Wednesday that “when animals that can spread disease are sold as pets, harm results.”

She said Petco advertised rats as “small companion animals” that are “docile, easily trained and have great personalities.”

But owning a pet rat comes with a “hidden danger” Fell said, in that they can carry the disease Streptobacillus moniliformis, or rat bite fever, which can be transmitted to their human owners.

The illness is easily treated using antibiotics like penicillin, but pediatricians and emergency room doctors often misdiagnose rat bite fever as the flu – leaving those who’ve contracted it susceptible to long-term joint pain, heart problems, disability and death.

“If it’s not being diagnosed, it’s not being treated,” Fell said.

Fell said Petco knew some of the rats it purchased from supplier Barney’s Pets – also a defendant in the lawsuit – had rat bite fever since at least 2001, because more than a dozen Petco employees and customers filed claims with the company after they contracted the illness by touching Petco rats.

The majority of those who contracted rat bite fever from Petco rats were kids, Fell said.

In the months leading up to Pankey’s death, rats supplied by Barney’s tested positive for rat bite fever at a higher frequency, Fell said.

Petco does warn its customers about the risk before they purchase a new pet. But Fell said the warning printed on the animal-care sheet and handed out to new pet owners “is not in a place where people are likely to see it.”

The store also did not explicitly warn the illness can cause death, Fell said. She showed jurors an alternative warning in big font which she said Petco should be using to properly warn rat owners about the deadly illness.

Fell later turned her focus to Andrew Pankey’s loss, showing a video – of Aidan Pankey doing flips on a trampoline – he’d made as a surprise for Father’s Day. The 10-year-old never got to show his dad the video, Fell said, because Aidan died days before the holiday.

“Andrew doesn’t have his little buddy anymore,” she said, adding: “Petco is still selling rats to kids and kids are still getting sick.”

Petco attorney Kimberly Oberrecht, with the San Diego firm Horton, Oberrecht, Kirkpatrick and Martha, asked jurors to “start over please” and “see the other side to this story.” She implored jurors to keep sympathy out of their decision before noting any pet carries a risk.

“Dogs bite, cats scratch, birds and reptiles carry bacteria that can make you sick, and so do rats. Petco cannot singlehandedly remove bacteria that is natural to an animal,” Oberrecht said.

She added: “Is a rat that carries bacteria a defective product?”

The bat bite fever bacteria is “natural to [a rat’s] flora, they carry it all the time,” Oberrecht said, noting it would be virtually impossible for Petco to sell rats free of rat bite fever unless the rats were raised and sold in a “laboratory setting.”

Petco tests its rats for rat bite fever if one of its employees gets bitten, but testing all the rats is not “industry standard,” Oberrecht said.

“Rat bite fever is preventable in humans by safe handling. Petco did not violate any laws by selling rats,” Oberrecht said.

She said Aidan Pankey liked to kiss his rats and have them on his shoulders near his face. She also said there are photos of the boy bathing with a rat on his head, suggesting he was not properly supervised when handling his rats and did not follow proper handling and hygiene instructions when playing with them.

She said whether a different warning, in bigger font that lists death as a possible side effect, could have potentially prevented Aidan’s death is for jurors to decide.

Barney’s Pets attorney Christopher Paenza called his client the “third wheel” in the trial and said the pet supplier followed industry standards and that rat bite fever “cannot be bred out.”

“It’s not possible to take a sample of one rat to determine if all rats are carriers. No one in the industry tests every rat,” Paenza said.

The trial in San Diego Superior Court Judge Eddie Sturgeon’s courtroom is expected to continue through April.

 

Article source: https://www.courthousenews.com/petco-rats-need-bigger-warning-lawyer-tells-jurors/

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