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Infected pet rat bite serves as warning for New Jersey parents

A pet bite can cause plenty of damage to an unaware child or adult. A bite by an infected animal can even cause death if not treated correctly. Animal providers have a responsibility to care and adequately vaccinate their animals. Pet stores have a responsibility to see that their animals are safe to be sold as pets. If a store fails in this responsibility, they may face liability for selling an unsafe animal. Animal bites are a serious concern for parents in New Jersey.

In one recent example, a boy's parents are suing the retailer Petco after their son died from an infected rat they purchased. Their 10-year-old son died from rat-bite fever, and the suit is alleging that Petco should have known about the rodent's health and that Petco did not provide sufficient warnings regarding the risk of harm pet rats may cause to children. Petco responded by saying that they were investigating the matter. People can contract rat-bite fever from any physical contact with an infected rat, including a bite or scratch. The disease cannot be spread from person to person.

Being bit by an infected animal can have serious repercussions. In some circumstances, if a store or provider gives a person an infected animal that bites that person, they may be liable for damages. A simple bite can lead to a serious health hazard and even death. If another person's animal bites an individual, they may be liable for medical expenses as well. A pet owner is responsible for making sure that their pet is properly cared for.

Losing a child to an animal bite is a terrible tragedy. Rat-bite fever is fairly uncommon in the United States, but it is a serious concern for New Jersey parents. Providers have a responsibility to make sure their animals are safely handled. In most cases, people survive with a heavy dose of antibiotics. If left untreated, it can lead to death.

Source: New Jersey Herald, "Boy's death from infected rat spurs suit vs. Petco," Julie Watson, Feb. 26, 2014

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