Demand Pet Store Test Rats for Disease

Test Rats Sold As Pets

Target: Petco CEO James M. Myers

Goal: Implement rigorous testing for disease of all animals sold as pets

When Aidan Pankey’s grandmother bought him a pet rat from Petco, she expected the rat to be a safe present for her grandson. Instead, the rat ended up killing him. Aiden Pankey recently died from a bacterial infection after the rat his grandmother bought bit him. Aiden Pankey’s grandmother did not buy him the rat through a disreputable channel. Instead, she put her trust and faith in Petco, a major pet store chain. She believed that any animal they sold would be properly vetted for deadly diseases before being sold to children.

Because Petco neither caught the fact that the rat they sold was infected, nor provided appropriate information to Aiden Pankey’s grandmother about the possibility that the rat might harbor such a lethal disease, Petco committed a serious mistake that resulted in the loss of the life of an innocent boy.

If Petco wants to keep selling pets in addition to pet supplies, they need to make serious and immediate changes to their policies. Since many of the animals they sell are given to children as gifts, they need to thoroughly examine each and every animal for any possible sign of disease or infection. If they don’t, they risk exposing more children to potentially lethal diseases. Demand that Petco change its policy today. Demand that they start implementing rigorous testing of all animals that come through their stores.


Dear Mr. Myers,

Recently, a Petco store in the San Diego area made a lethal mistake. Instead of properly testing each and every animal that they sold, they sold a diseased rat to a grandmother who wanted to buy a pet for her grandson. The diseased rat bit the boy, infecting him with a deadly disease that killed him despite hospital intervention. It is absolutely unacceptable that something like this happened. Selling diseased animals is a major health hazard, both for people and for other animals.

If Petco does not require rigorous testing to ensure that each and every animal your company sells is safe to be around people and/or other animals, then your company needs to stop selling any animals until this type of testing is implemented. If testing is already implemented, then additional testing or stricter standards need to be applied, because even one case of a child dying due to playing with a diseased pet bought from Petco is too many.

As CEO of Petco it is within your power to implement rigorous testing of each and every animal you sell. As a human being, it is your moral duty to ensure that no more children die.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Fæ via Wikimedia

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