Alert! Sexual abuse? Visit our Chicago sex abuse page.

A California family has filed a lawsuit against Petco after a 10-year-old boy passed away following being bitten by a rat purchased at the chain of pet stores.  Aiden Pankey died last summer from rat bite fever, disease reportedly carried by a rat the family had purchased from a Petco store in San Diego.


What Happened?

On Memorial Day in 2013, Aiden and his grandmother went to the pet store to get a companion for his pet rat, Oreo. But two weeks after buying the rat, the boy came down with what the family describes as flu-like symptoms, and within 48 hours died.  Sharon Pankey, the boy’s grandmother, said, “I put him to bed after a day at the doctor’s office and the next thing I knew it just was too late. I went into his room and he couldn’t speak. He was unstable on his feet. I got him down to my room and he collapsed on the floor. I called 911 because it was scaring me that his breathing was shallow and he seemed to be losing his ability to function.”

At first, doctors didn’t know what had happened. More than six months later, at Christmas, a medical examiner confirmed to the family that Aiden had died from the infection disease know as rat bite fever. The disease is rare and transmitted by rodents, rats, or mice, and when treated properly, the prognosis is good. However, a particular strain can cause serious complications and death.

The family is suing Petco for failing to have sufficient procedures in place to prevent accidents like this one happening. They are suing for liability and negligence, and are seeking compensatory and punitive damage.

Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

This tragic case likely could have been prevented. In cases of wrongful death and negligence, it is important to seek legal representation for help with your case. In cases such as these, where a death, illness, or injury could have been prevented, it’s important to hold responsible parties liable. Personal injury attorneys can help you work through the case, which can be extremely beneficial as they will know the best ways to approach insurance companies, doctors, and other responsible parties involved.  If you need help with a case of negligence or personal injury including wrongful death, contact Malman Law today.

Firm Awards & Recognitions

Client Review

  • "I'm very pleased to recommend Malman Law to my friends and relatives! I have to mention how efficient and professional in dealing with my case has been with everyone that I've been in contact with at Malman Law. Mrs. Sabo is outstanding as well as her secretary and assistant in responding quickly to any of my questions or concerns. This firm has gone above and beyond to keep me updated and get answers to my questions at any time, weekends included! Malman Law rules in my opinion! "

    - Cheryl Wagemann
View More Testimonials

Know Your Rights!

Why People Choose Malman Law

  • Credibility & Experience

    20,000+ Cases over 25 Years
  • Track Record of Success

    Over $200,000,000 Collected
  • Team of Litigation Lawyers

    Real Courtroom Experience