The Pankey family, of San Diego, California, asserts that their son died from a bacterial infection that came from his pet rat. John Gomez, the family’s lawyer, filed the lawsuit regarding the death in San Diego County court on Monday.
Hours after the boy was taken to a hospital with severe stomach pains, he died. The medical examiner’s office in San Diego County ruled that the boy’s death was caused by streptobacillus moniliformis infection which is more widely referred to as rat-bite fever which occurs after a person has been exposed to an infected rat.
Aidan’s grandmother bought the male rat – which Aidan named Alex – to be a mate to his female rat. The pet was taken to the Pankey home on May 27, 2013. About two weeks later, on June 11, the boy woke up during the night in severe pain with a fever and a severe stomach ache. Reportedly, he was lethargic, pale, and could hardly walk on his own. He died at 1:09 a.m. the next day.
The delay in filing the lawsuit was because lawyers waited for the lab results from the federal Centers for Disease Control, the agency that tested the rat.
The Centers for Disease Control claims that rat bite deaths are rare since antibiotics usually cure those bitten by infected rats.
The family wants to raise awareness of the situation – and has done so by going forth with the lawsuit.
Petco says that they are deeply saddened by the Parkey family’s tragic loss. They claim the health and safety of people and pets is always a top priority, and they take the family’s concerns very seriously.