San Diego family suing Petco after boy dies of bacterial infection from pet rat

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Feb 25, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego family is suing Petco following the death of their 10-year-old son from a bacterial infection that they say he contracted from his pet rat.

Attorney John Gomez told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his firm filed the lawsuit Monday in San Diego County seeking an unspecified amount for the suffering endured by the Pankey family, whose son, Aidan, died June 12, 2013, hours after being rushed to the hospital with severe stomach pains.

The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death was streptobacillus moniliformis infection, commonly known as rat-bite fever, after exposure to an infected rat.

Aidan Pankey is seen with one of his pet rats. Lawyers representing the Pankey family have filed a lawsuit against Petco Animal Supplies Inc., saying Aidan died from rat-bite fever.

AP Photo/Courtesy Pankey Family

Aidan Pankey is seen with one of his pet rats. Lawyers representing the Pankey family have filed a lawsuit against Petco Animal Supplies Inc., saying Aidan died from rat-bite fever.

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The retailer in a statement expressed its condolences.

“We are deeply saddened by the Pankey family’s tragic loss,” Petco said in a statement. “The health and safety of people and pets is always a top priority, and we take the family’s concerns very seriously.”

The 10-year-old's family purchased the female rat at this petco store. The boy's cause of death was later ruled streptobacillus moniliformis infection, commonly known as rat-bite fever.

KGTV

The 10-year-old’s family purchased the female rat at this petco store. The boy’s cause of death was later ruled streptobacillus moniliformis infection, commonly known as rat-bite fever.

The boy’s grandmother purchased the male rat because her only grandson wanted a mate for his female pet rat, Gomez said.

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“He was a bright, energetic, friendly, happy kid who actually had a prior rat, who was a female, and he had this idea in his young head of having his female rat get married,” Gomez said.

Aidan's Grandmother, Sharon Pankey, is seen after the loss of her only grandson.

KGTV

Aidan’s Grandmother, Sharon Pankey, is seen after the loss of her only grandson.

The lawsuit was not filed until now because attorneys were awaiting the lab results from the federal Centers for Disease Control, which tested the rat to confirm it was infected, Gomez said. The agency could not immediately confirm the results Tuesday.

Gomez said the Pankey family was not giving interviews, but they are devastated by the death of their only son and want to raise awareness among parents.

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“It’s a means to ensure this doesn’t happataten again,” Gomez said of the lawsuit. “Apparently there was some breakdown in procedures. They want tighter controls.”

Petco Animal Supplies Inc. said it is “in the process of investigating these claims and will respond appropriately when we have more information.”

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Article source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/family-suing-petco-boy-dies-pet-rat-bacterial-infection-article-1.1701646

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