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Boy Killed By Rat Bite He Got From Petco Pet, Lawsuit Says

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A San Diego family of a 10-year-old boy who died from a rat bite is suing Petco, the store where they bought the pet.The attorney for the family, John Gomez, filed the wrongful death lawsuit on Monday. The complaint claims that Aidan Pankey died on June 12, 2013 after he was bitten by his pet rat that he owned for just two weeks, according to Fox San Diego. Pankey complained of severe stomach pains and a fever the night before and was taken to a hospital where he died a few hours later, reported KTLA. According to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office, Pankey's death was caused by streptobacillus moniliformis infection, also known as rat-bite fever.

Pankey's grandmother had bought her grandson the rat, which he named "Alex," from the San Diego Petco store on May 27, 2013 because he wanted a companion for his female rat pet. "He was a bright, energetic, friendly, happy kid who actually had a prior rat, who was a female, and he had this idea in his young head of having his female rat get married," Gomez told the Associated Press.

The lawsuit claims Petco did not take proper care in ensuring they were selling healthy rats, alleging strict liability, negligence and breach of warranty, reported KTLA. “The rat that killed Aidan appeared safe, but was in fact defective and dangerous and defendants failed to adequately warn of such dangers,” the lawsuit says.

Petco issued a statement about the death:

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"We are deeply saddened by the Pankey family's tragic loss," Petco said in a statement. "The health and safety of people and pets is always a top priority, and we take the family's concerns very seriously."

The family is seeking an unspecified amount for their loss in the lawsuit, according to the Associated Press.