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Family finds live bat in Strip hotel room, lawsuit alleges

Updated August 22, 2023 - 7:03 pm

Several Las Vegas visitors say they had to receive preventative rabies treatment after they found a live bat in their Strip hotel room and killed it, according to a lawsuit recently filed in Clark County District Court.

Eight Arizona residents claim New York-New York resort-casino did not act appropriately when it disposed of the bat without testing it for rabies because it had been in contact with sleeping adults and children, according to the complaint alleging premise negligence filed on Aug. 10

The plaintiffs — three families that included four adults and their four children — were in Las Vegas between April 7-11, 2022, for a volleyball tournament.

In the early hours of April 11, Arizona resident Marcus Rucker, a father of one of the families, woke to the sound of a live bat rustling in the curtains. Rucker killed the bat with a nearby shoe, according to his attorney Racheal Ross, then put it in a cup and in a nearby stairwell.

Rucker reported the incident to a front desk employee during the daytime, the complaint states.

The plaintiffs reported the incident to the Maricopa County (Arizona) Department of Public Health the next day, according to the complaint. Those health officials said the bat should be immediately tested for rabies or otherwise the room guests and its visitors would need to seek rabies exposure treatment. Rucker called the front desk of New York-New York, whose manager said the bat couldn’t be turned over for testing because it had already been thrown out.

“Plaintiffs were required to undergo a series of multiple injections to prevent contracting rabies, which were painful,” the complaint states.

All three families are plaintiffs in the case because the whole party spent time in the room where the bat was found.

MGM Resorts International, the operators of New York-New York, did not respond to a request for comment by publication time.

The complaint alleges the hotel operators failed to prevent hotel guests from exposure to pests and diseases. It also states the hotel should have known to preserve the bat for rabies testing.

The plaintiffs are seeking at least $15,000 in damages, according to the complaint.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

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