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Can I Sue a Pet Store if an Animal I Buy Makes Me Sick?

Pets of all kinds bring much happiness to children and adults alike.  Pets can also teach children a great deal about responsibility and compassion.  In fact, 60% of families in America have at least one pet in their household.  However, before making an investment in a pet, it is necessary to be educated about the type of species you will be caring for, including any health risks it may present to you and your family.  For example, turtles, other reptiles, and even hamsters are widely known to be carriers of salmonella.  Pet mice and rats may also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.  Last year, a family brought suit against a popular nationwide pet store chain due to their son’s tragic death caused by “rat bite fever,” as a result of his recently purchased pet rat biting him.  Certain types of birds may also put you at risk for illness.  

The elderly and children are at the highest risk for illness caused by infected animals, due to their immune systems being weakened, or not fully developed.   

A pet store has a duty to sell you a healthy pet.  In addition to New York’s “Pet Lemon Law,” which is intended to protect consumers from purchasing unhealthy pets, a pet store that sells you an animal that makes you sick may be held liable for negligence.    

Some tips for avoiding illness caused by pets:

  •        Consider carefully and research thoroughly the type of pet you will be    purchasing
  •        Wash your hands and your children’s hands after handling an animal
  •        Keep your animal’s cage/tank clean
  •        Do not purchase an animal that looks sickly, unless you are able to rehabilitate it
  •         If you are bitten by your pet, get medical attention immediately.

If you have unknowingly purchased an ill animal from a pet store, and that animal has caused you severe illness, you may be entitled to receive compensation for medical expenses in addition to pain and suffering.  Consult with an experienced attorney who can advise you regarding your legal remedies.  Contact the personal injury attorneys at Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212) 571-7171 today.

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