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Monday, May 20, 2024 | Back issues
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Insurer Sued for Case of Rat Bite Fever

MILWAUKEE (CN) - A man claims a pet rat lunged at him and bit him and hung from his chin until he managed to "dislodge the rat's teeth from its grip." He says he was hospitalized and diagnosed with rat bite fever after the rodent attack.

Tyler Hintzke sued Sentry Insurance in Milwaukee County Court. Sentry insured the mother of the man, or boy, who owned the rat, and insured the rat-owner under his mother's policy.

Hintzke says his friend, nonparty Michael Vazquez, let the rat out of its cage and allowed it to walk "unfettered" in the basement. The animal appeared to be domesticated, and Vazquez told him "that it would be OK ... to hold and pet the rat," he says.

But as he held it and petted it in its lap, "the pet rat stood up on his hind legs and jumped up and bit the plaintiff in the chin and the rat hung from the plaintiff's chin until the plaintiff could dislodge the rat's teeth from its grip."

Hintzke says the rat had bitten its owner before it bit him.

Hintzke was admitted to a hospital and diagnosed with rat bite fever.

He says he was sick for days and his neck became stiff, he had chills and a fever, he was tired all the time and he developed a rash on his hands and feet.

He seeks damages for his injuries, and costs. He is represented by Paul Literski of Greenfield.

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