Woman worried she has rabies after being bit by rat at PetSmart

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Williamsburg, Va.--- An employee at PetSmart says she was bitten by a rat on display and is now worried she has rabies. She feels the store isn't doing enough to help her find out if she has it, especially after she says a vet told her it showed signs of the illness.

Victoria Verbeeck says she was working at the Williamsburg store on Wednesday morning when a rat bit her finger. The rat had been acting oddly lately, she said, but she had handled it before. "It turned around and just chomped down on my finger," she said. "I was more like that really just happened."

Since it happened, she says PetSmart hasn't been acting fast enough in helping to get the rat tested. With the holidays, she says she was told she'd have to wait until Monday to get help from PetSmart because corporate offices are closed until then.

A spokesperson from PetSmart says the company is taking the situation seriously. The health department is now overseeing the testing, according to the spokesperson. It's not clear when the results will be available.

Victoria says she plans to return to work at the store when she's feeling better, and has no intention of taking legal action.



  • Shannon

    If you are going to choose to work around animals, you should educate yourself on possible diseases that can be transmitted among humans. Rabies is incredibly rare in rats, so much so that a rats infected with rabies have very rarely been found in the US. In addition, not a single rat has been documented to give a human rabies in the US. Now think about exposure limitations. Wild rats would be the most likely to contract rabies if it were an issue (which it’s not). The likelihood that she was exposed to a rabid rat in captivity is next to impossible. I hope you happy with yourself, for a little bit of publicity, a rat is being sacrificed and a brain sample is being collected. FYI, just because an animal exhibits neurological symptoms doesn’t mean it has rabies. Educate yourself and do the rest of the world a favor and don’t work around animals.

  • Jessica

    I’ve been bit by a wild rat before and went to the hospital and was told by animal control rats dont have rabies because their brains are too small. A captive rat is even less likely. I worked at PetSmart 10 years I guarantee they let her go to the dr and she got a tetanus shot and antibiotics. This story is ridiculous and I don’t even like PetSmart.

  • K Lark

    I swear she works around animals and don’t know anything about them .Lady get another job not working around animals. Even I know pet rats won’t transmit rabies. Just looking for some free money I guess.

  • Tina Taylor

    when handling certain animals, make sure you wash you r hands first and do not use soaps or lotions that smell like food. female rodents are more likely than males to bite. rats will bite if cornered. if you need medical attention, just go to ER and send them the bill. the supervisor on duty was notified immediately. they cannot refuse you treatment. http://www.dol.gov/odep/pubs/fact/employ.htm

    • Mitch

      It is a Worker’s Comp claim. All she had to do was go to the ER, tell them she was wounded at work and all the wheels and proper testing would have been mandated and performed. This is someone who craves her 15 minutes of fame at the expense of her employer.

  • CryMea River

    I hope to god that woman does not have children. Talk about being a paranoid nut job…….She has a better chance of getting the plague from that rat than rabies. Not one single case in the history of the US of a rat transmitting rabies to a human.

  • Steve

    From the CDC website: “Small rodents like squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, and mice) and lagomorphs including rabbits and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans.”

  • Mitch

    Oh boy!!! She doesn’t plan to sue and is going back to work. I’m sure the folks at Petsmart are thrilled to have been dragged through the press by this stellar employee.
    News flash toots: Small mammals bite and just because they do, doesn’t mean they have rabies. Poor rat dies for nothing.

  • Lolzi

    rats cannot transmit rabies to humans this person obviously dosnt know much about rodents. my opinion about this, is that a rat is being blamed, even though 1 rats cant transmit rabies to humans 2. rats rarely bite so i find this hard to beleive 3 if a hamster bit her hand multiple times she probably wouldnt care.

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