For many young children, getting a pet is a very big deal. Kids enjoy being able to play with their animals, and parents can use pet ownership as a way to teach responsibility. Unfortunately, one family assumed a much bigger, unexpected burden after welcoming a new pet into their home.
A 10-year-old boy received a pet rat from his grandmother to serve as a companion to the rat he already owned. Of course, this was a very exciting experience for the boy. The enthusiasm diminished within weeks, however, as he contracted and died as the result of a very serious illness, believed to have been caused by the rat.
Reports indicate that the boy likely died from what is commonly referred to as "rat-bite fever." This condition is only passed to humans from animals through bites, scratches or mere contact. Although the infection is often treatable with antibiotics, it can result in death.
In the wake of the boy's passing, his family has filed a wrongful death claim against Petco, the store where the rat was purchased. According to the suit, the pet retailer should do a better job of warning consumers about the dangers of rat-related illnesses at its locations throughout the country, including stores in Tennessee. According to the family, the lack of information about rat-bite fever at the store contributed the boy's death.
After filing the claim, the boy's family just wants others to be protected against the pet-related dangers. By taking action, the hope is that Petco will do more to provide consumers with information about the animals sold at their stores.
Beyond inspiring positive change, wrongful death suits can also help families recover what they've lost. Of course, the family was taken completely off guard by this tragic incident, so they will need to heal and move forward.