SAN DIEGO (CN) - A 10-year-old boy died from "Rat Bite Fever" within three weeks of buying a vermin carrying the disease with his grandmother, parents claim in court.
Aidan Pankey was "in severe pain" when he had to be hospitalized on the night of June 11, 2013, according to the Superior Court complaint.
In addition to presenting with a fever and stomach problems, the boy "appeared lethargic, pale, and could barely walk," Andrew Pankey and Vanessa Sauer say.
Within a few hours, at 1:09 a.m. on June 12, Aidan was dead from "streptobacillus moniliformis infection (Rat-Bite Fever)," according to the complaint.
It had been just 2 1/2 weeks earlier on Memorial Day that Aidan's grandmother, Sharon Pankey, had taken the 10-year-old to a Petco in San Diego and bought him a rat that the boy named Alex.
"Unbeknownst to Aidan and his family, Alex was carrying Rat Bite Fever, an infectious disease that can kill humans and is particularly dangerous for children," the complaint states. "In the days following the purchase, Aidan played with Alex."
Pankey and Sauer say Petco breached its duty to their son by failing to acquire healthy rats and test the rats for diseases prior to selling them.
The couple seeks exemplary damages for product liability, negligence, and wrongful death.
They are represented by Hamilton Arendsen with Gomez Trial Attorneys.