Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Family of rat bite fever victim talks only to Team 10
February 24, 2014 10news.com
SAN DIEGO - The family of a
10-year-old boy who died from
is blaming Petco for the boy's death. Aidan Pankey's family had never even heard of the disease that killed him until
he died and they say Petco should have done more to make sure the rat sold to
the boy didn't have it.
The Pankey family is filing a lawsuit again Petco claiming various causes of action for strict liability and negligence. "Clearly there were not sufficient safety procedures in place at Petco when they sold this rat," the family's attorney, Hamilton Arendsen of Gomez Trial Attorneys, said.
Researchers from one of the largest labs in the country told Team 10 a breeder would have to test eight rats to be 95 percent certain a colony of 100 rats or more did not have the disease.
They said it would cost around $40 per rat to run a test just for Rat-bite fever, though other tests could be performed at the same time for an additional cost. A rat costs between $6 and $11 at Petco.
Aidan's death has destroyed the family. The boy's father, Andrew Pankey, said he can't eat, sleep and was forced to take a leave of absence from work. "He was my family," he said. "I'm probably down 30 to 35 pounds since then. I don't even get hungry. I just go until I pass out. The family wants Petco to make sure no rats with Rat-bite fever end up in their stores and ultimately in family's homes. "It sounds bad but I just want him back," Andrew said.
"At Petco, we follow
what we believe are the industry’s strongest standards for companion animal
health and welfare, and we require our vendors to meet the same standards for
animal care and well-being. We require our live animal suppliers to meet or
exceed USDA requirements for the care and treatment of animals, as well as
follow strict requirements for housing, feeding, breeding, shipping and caring
for sick or injured animals. We leave specific testing protocols to be
determined by our vendors unless we identify a reason for concern."
The company also sent us the information regarding care for rats that they give to those who purchase the animals. A care sheet does explain that rats are potential carriers of infectious diseases, including Rat-bite fever. However, the document does not state the disease can be fatal.
Wendy Patrick is a business ethics lecturer at San Diego State University and an attorney. She said waivers do not always protect companies.
"Release forms are tricky because when you sign a release form it's telling you about a lot of the risks, but in a lot of cases, it's not telling you about all of the risks," Patrick told Team 10 on Tuesday. "One of the things that these cases bring up is did the manufacturer do enough, did the seller do enough?"
Note: PETCO provides info on pet care in its stores - Petco's care sheet for rats and Petco's infectious diseases care sheet
Comment: Where does responsibility lie? Can PETCO be held liable? It’ll be interesting to follow.
November 22, 2016 Lawsuit Filed Against PetSmart and PetSmart Groomer For Loss of Puppy