Petco Cleared of Negligence In Death of 10-Year-Old Boy Who Contracted Rat-Bite Fever

Apr 21, 2017

A San Diego jury has cleared animal retailer Petco of negligence in the death of a 10-year-old boy who became sick after handling a pet rat sold by the store.

Aidan Pankey died after contracting Streptobacillus moniliformis, more commonly known as rat-bite fever, a bacterial infection than can be transmitted by bites, scratches, and through rodents' urine, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Although the jury said that Petco should have been aware of the potential dangers posed by pet rats, they also determined the retailer had adequately fulfilled its duty of warning customers of those dangers.

“They did what they could to prevent any kind of spread of disease,” jury foreman James Wigdel said, noting the store had endeavored to take measures to protect the community from rat-bite fever, including testing its rodents and advising customers on how to handle them safely. Petco's supplier, Barney’s Pets, was also cleared of negligence.

For more on pets, watch Fortune's video:

“We remain deeply saddened by the Pankey family’s tragic loss and are committed to continuing to provide the highest level of safety to our customers in the future,” read a statement published on Petco's website following the hearing. “The safety of people and pets is always Petco’s top priority.”

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions