Jury sides with Petco in death of boy from rat-bite fever

Jury sides with Petco in death of boy from rat-bite fever

Jury sides with Petco in death of boy from rat-bite fever

She said the company is working to develop a test, but the company had no way of knowing, until such a test is developed, if the rats they sell are carriers of rat bite fever or not.

When Aidan's symptoms worsened the next night, his family called paramedics.

'If you buy a rat from Petco, you can request they be tested for rat-bite fever.

In closing arguments Tuesday, an attorney for plaintiff Andrew Pankey said he should be awarded $20 million for the loss of his son, Aidan, who died June 12, 2013, just two weeks after his grandmother bought the pet rat from a Petco store in Carmel Mountain Ranch.

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 jury found that Petco did enough to warn the Pankey family of the possible risks and dangers of owning a pet rat, and therefore was not negligent in the boy's death.

Gomez also claimed Petco hid its data on testing rats for RBF from the federal government.

Closing Arguments Heard in'Rat Bite Fever Trial
Closing Arguments Heard in'Rat Bite Fever Trial

The Pankeys' lawyer went as far as to say Petco and pet supplier Barney's Pets knew some rats were infected but didn't alert customers to the danger, reported the San Diego Union Tribune.

One of the attorneys representing the boy's family said they plan to file an appeal.

"[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", the family's attorney, Bibianne Fell, argued.

"One of the things we hoped would come out of this [was] Petco would take more responsibility", Aidan Pankey's grandmother, Sharon Pankey said, via CBS News.

Petco argues that it sold almost 5 million rats between 2001 and 2013 with only 16 claims of people contracting the disease.

However, the jury found that Petco adequately warned consumers of the potential dangers of rats, and instructed them on how to handle the rodents safely. It can not be passed from one person to another. "The safety of people and pets is always Petco's top priority", Petco said in a statement to PEOPLE.

Apart from rat bites and scratches, RBF can be contracted by humans by handling rodents with the disease, or by consuming contaminated food or beverages.

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