Pets have become a near-ubiquitous part of the human condition, and most pet owners will talk at length about the joy their pets give them. Some animals have even been known to do extraordinary things, such as save their owners in emergency medical conditions or put killers behind bars.
But there’s also a darker side to go with the joy. No one wants to believe that a beloved animal could ever cause a tragedy, but this list explores 10 cases where a pet did just that.
10. Pyromaniac Parrot
In September 1947, 66-year-old Fannie Stewart’s pet parrot, Dolly, landed on the kitchen stove and turned on the gas jets. Neighbors detected gas outside Stewart’s home and called the police, who arrived to find her unconscious in the kitchen.
Rescue workers performed artificial respiration and revived Stewart, who explained that Dolly had turned on the gas jets once before. Stewart was taken to a medical center, where she suffered a stroke and died.
9. Bacterial Bite
In 2016, a 68-year-old Toronto man arrived at Toronto General Hospital after suffering weakness, abdominal pain, chills, and sudden weight loss. Fearing sepsis, doctors performed an ultrasound and discovered that the man had an aneurysm in the abdominal section of his aorta, which ruptured. His aorta was repaired, and the man was treated with penicillin. But he died of septic shock 13 days later.
When he arrived at the hospital, the man’s wife mentioned that he had been bitten by their cat four weeks earlier. In the case study, Dr. Dennis Cho states, “Only looking back did we realize this was probably the key to unlocking the true diagnosis.”
The cat bite had transmitted Pasteurella multocida, bacteria that is common in pets’ mouths. The man was a heavy drinker, which had compromised his immune system and increased his risk of complications from the bacteria. Doctors performed a test on pieces of the aorta wall and confirmed the infection.