aidan pankeyThis scary news will make you reconsider buying rodents from a pet store. Ten-year-old Aidan Pankey died after his pet rat bit him. Now his family is suing the pet store that sold the rat. His grandmother bought the boy the rat two weeks earlier, and Aiden named it "Alex." But after playing with Alex, Aiden woke up with a fever and a tummy ache. Paramedics rushed him to the hospital, but he died within hours.

Doctors say Aidan died of streptobacillus moniliformis, also known as rat-bite fever. His family had no idea the rat was so dangerous -- they say it appeared perfectly healthy. Now they're suing Petco for failing to ensure they were selling healthy rats and failing to prevent their animals from becoming infected. 

Petco won't respond directly about the lawsuit, but they did say they are "deeply saddened by the ... family’s tragic loss. The health and safety of people and pets is always a top priority and we take the family’s concerns very seriously.” They say they are investigating the incident.

First of all, I feel terrible for the family. What an awful loss -- and from a gift, too. This shouldn't happen to anyone.

I'm floored that this could happen! Like Aidan's family, I've bought pets from chain pet stores -- little hamsters. The same thing could have happened to my child. It's never occurred to me to question the health of an animal so long as it looks and acts healthy. But now, I will be a lot more wary of pet store pets in the future.

Have you ever heard of a pet store animal making a human sick?

 

Image via KTLA