If you weren’t squeamish about pet rats before… you will be now.
A 10-year old boy, Aiden Pankey, died in 2013 from Rat-Bite Fever after handling a rat that was purchased for him at Petco.
Aiden’s father, Andrew Pankey is now suing Petco for undisclosed damages because he says that they didn’t disclose the risk associated with having a rat as a pet.
Vanessa Sauer, Aiden’s mother, was also suing Petco, but settled the case before it went to trial.
Aiden already had a pet rat, but wanted a second one.
His grandmother bought the animal for the 10-year-old because he wanted a male rat to ‘marry’ the female rodent he already had. They picked out ‘Alex’ together at a San Diego Petco store.
Only two weeks after purchasing the animal from the pet chain, Aidan grew gravely ill and two days after showing flu-like symptoms, he died. The CDC determined his death was caused by rat-bite fever from handling his new rat.
Aidan’s father, Andrew Pankey, previously said to 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.’
In the case’s opening statements, the Pankey’s lawyer accused Petco and pet supplier Barney’s Pets, of knowing some rats were infected but didn’t alert customers to the danger, reported the San Diego Union Tribune…
…They added that Petco does warn of potential dangers that come when buying a rat, including rat-bite fever, but it is handed over in form that comes with general instructions about how to care for the pet, reported Inside Edition.
A Petco lawyer said: ‘Petco warned about it. One thing Petco cannot do is change the nature of an animal.’…
…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.
Antibiotics, such as penicillin, are highly effective at treating rat-bite fever, and it is rarely fatal, according to the CDC.
The CDC says those at higher risk of contracting the illness are people with pet rats or who work with rats in laboratories or pet stores, or live in rat-infested buildings.
The agency recommends that people who handle rats or clean their cages wear protective gloves, wash their hands regularly and avoid touching their mouths with their hands after being in contact with rodents.
Read more: Daily Mail
Maybe there are just some animals that shouldn’t be kept as pets.
What do you think of this tragic story?
Will you think twice about buying a rat as a pet?