Days after buying a cockatiel for his family, Corpus Christi resident Joe de la Garza succumbed to a sudden illness, dying a few days later. Surviving family members had the presence of mind to send the carcass of the bird to a veterinary laboratory for testing, where it was determined that the bird was a carrier for the deadly disease known as psittacosis (also sometimes called “parrot fever”). The Garza family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against PetSmart, and they are calling on the chain to discontinue its bird sales. According to news reports, similar incidents of animal illness and maltreatment have been reported in the past.
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