Trial underway for boy who died of rat bite fever

SAN DIEGO — Trial is underway in an unusual case in which a 10-year old boy died after he was bitten by his pet rat.

That rat, purchased at a national pet store chain was carrying a deadly bacteria.  Now the boy’s family is suing. Ten-year-old Aidan Pankey died in 2013 from rat bite fever two weeks after his pet rat bit him.

Opening statements began with an attorney from Petco pet chain who told the jury, “This is not an epidemic as the plaintiffs would have you believe. In the pet industry, there are no suppliers of rats that can guarantee or provide you a rat that don’t carry this bacteria.”

In a lawsuit filed against Petco, the Pankey family claims the store sold them a diseased pet rat.  They want the store to stop selling the rodents. The trial expected to go the jury some time next week.

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