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Are pet stores putting dangerous animals up for sale?


Posted On behalf of Michael D'Amico of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Mar 05, 2014 in Wrongful Death

There aren't many parents in Southbury who would allow their 10-year-old child to be alone with a tiger, even if it was being kept as a pet. While not many people in Connecticut have such large, dangerous pets, the point is that parents know not to expose their children to dangerous situations. Parents may not, however, think that leaving their children alone with cats, fish or even small dogs would be that dangerous, but what about pet rats?

One out-of-state family likely thought nothing of allowing their 10-year-old son to have a second rat after his grandmother bought him one as a companion for his first rat, but that rat ended up causing their son's death. Now, the parents are suing Petco, the company that sold the rat, claiming it was negligent to sell such a dangerous animal.

The parents are specifically arguing that the pet store should have known that the animal was carrying streptobacillus moniliformis bacteria. Had they sufficiently tested it, the company would have known the rat carried bacteria that could lead to "rat-bite fever."

While the illness is typically not fatal, it is possible that if the parents had known that their child had been exposed that the condition might not have taken his life.

Whether the family will win its wrongful death lawsuit remains to be seen, but the reasons that are likely behind the lawsuit are understandable. Many people in Connecticut who lose loved ones want to hold a negligent party responsible for those relatives' deaths. They want them to literally pay for the havoc they caused. For parents who have lost a son, there aren't many people who would fault them for wanting to hold someone responsible.

Source: CBS News, “Family sues Petco after boy dies from ‘rat-bite fever’,” Feb. 25, 2014