A San Diego jury found Petco not guilty in a lawsuit involving the death of a 10-year-old boy. Aidan Pankey was the boy who contracted a bacterial infection known as rat bite fever. He died on June 12, 2013. A few months after his death, his parents decided to file a lawsuit against the pet store that sold the pet rat, Petco.
Now, after 3 years, the jury decided that the pet store is not responsible for the death of the boy. Despite the fact that the boy contracted the disease from the rat that was purchased from Petco, the jury mentioned that the pet store wasn’t negligent.
The San Diego jury found that the pet store warned the family of the boy that there are certain risks of owning a pet rat. They even told the grandmother of the boy (the one who purchased the rat) that these rodents can have certain diseases. Despite this fact, the grandmother mentioned that she wasn’t expecting this. She said that she only believed that wild rats can suffer from diseases like rat bite fever.
The kid died two weeks after receiving the rat from his grandmother. The doctors stated that he contacted the disease from an infected rat. The father of the boy, Andrew Pankey, decided to file a lawsuit against the pet store, Petco, in February 2014. He asked the company for more than $20 million in damages.
After the jury ruled that Petco was not negligent, the pet store gave a statement. They said that they will continue to provide a high level of security for their customers. The attorney of Petco, Kimberly Oberrecht, stated that the pet store is trying to develop a test for rat bite fever. At the moment, it is impossible to know for sure just how many rats contracted this disease.
The pet store also mentioned that they warn all their customers about the diseases that the pets can have. They also said that the grandmother of the boy was warned before she purchased the pet. The parents of the boy mentioned that they wanted to warn the world of the risks of owning a rat as a pet.
What is your opinion about the jury’s ruling? Do you think that the pet store was responsible?
Image source: Wikipedia