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Petco sued after boy dies from rat bite

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rat biteSAN DIEGO — A San Diego family is suing Petco, saying their 10- year-old son died from a bacterial infection contracted from his pet rat, which was purchased at a Carmel Mountain Ranch store.

Aidan Pankey died June 12 from streptobacillus monilformis infection, commonly known as rat-bite fever, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office. The pet rat in question was purchased two weeks earlier to serve as a companion to a rat Aidan already owned.

The wrongful death lawsuit against Petco was not filed until Monday in San Diego Superior Court because the family was waiting for lab results from the federal Centers for Disease Control, family attorney John Gomez told reporters. He said the CDC concluded that the rat was infected, though the agency did not immediately confirm the claim publicly.

In the lawsuit, Aidan’s parents, Andrew Pankey and Vanessa Sauer, allege that Petco did not adequately test the rat for the disease and did not post adequate warnings about the potential risks to children.

In a statement, Petco said it was “deeply saddened” by the death and it takes the Pankey family’s concerns “very seriously.”

Rat-bite fever can be treated with antibiotics and is rarely fatal, according to the CDC.


    • Cassandra V

      He could have gotten it from a simple scratch. And would you rush your child to the ER for a little scratch or even a slight bite from a pet you owned that you thought was healthy becasue you bought it from a pet store less than two weeks ago?? no you wouldn;t. The ER or DR would ask if he was up to date on his tetanus and then laugh you right out of there. It is not like they caught this rat somewhere out in the back alley. They bought it at what they thought was a reputable pet store. Commom people..use some common sense!

  • Igamoo

    Seems to me the parents were the ones who bought the rat for the boy. What kind of research did they do before buying a pet.

  • Valeria T

    it says the parents purchased this rat to be a companion to one they already had. so one would think they were already somewhat familiar with rat behavior and etc.

  • Brittany

    According to CDC it can be treated with antibiotics. So why did the boy die then? Petco can't take the boy into the doctor for the parents.

    • Cassandra V

      maybe they thought he had a common cold or a bug. Why would they rush their child to the doctor for that. Not only that, we don;t know if they went to the doctor or not and even if they did a doctor is going to suspect a virus not rat fever off the top of his head.

  • chacho520

    idiots for readers !!! doesnt read that you cant die from it it says it is rare to die from it , and yes, they owned a rat , please go a step beyond that actually HEAR what they claim: PETCO sold them an untested/infected rat never checked it for the disease…and where did you read that they didnt seek medical attention ?…………..WTF !!!

  • Wh1teBean

    So Petco needs to post the risks to children because stupid parents can’t take enough time to do any damn research on their own? Quit trying to take the tragic accident of your son’s passing and make money off of it.

  • Cassandra V

    We have pet rats..this is not the parents fault. It has nothing to do with research. Any animal can get sick. People go into places like Petco and trust that they are selling healthy animals. Unfortunately, their animals often look ill or sluggish.
    This is not the parents' fault! I'm sure they did go to the doctor or maybe they thought he just had a cold or bug and were waiting for it to pass. If one of our rats were to bite or scratch my son, like with anything you would wash it with soap and water and make sure he was up to date on his tetanus. I would never expect him or be waiting for him to get il from it. No doctor is going to give pre-emptive Antibiotics becasue your child got a scratch or bite from a rat. Petco does not take care of their animals! Petco needs to be held accountable for selling unhelathy animals. I would like to know how or if they (or any pet stores) are regulated by an outside agency when it comes to the health and care of their animals.

    • Cassandra V did not get our rats from a pet store. I got them from a breeder. I was going to get one from petco but half of them had one eye that looked stuck shut with goop or just wouldn;t open and quite of few of them looked like they had a skin condition or something else going on with their fur. In addition I have bought fish from them awill never do it again! i bought 3 fish and within 72 hours of addidng them to my tank..they died and all of my fish were ill or dying. I had to put my entire tank on antiabiotice treatments just to save my fish I already had.

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