KITCHENER -- A Kitchener woman said she was shocked to find a dead bat in the packaging of a furniture delivery.

Laura Malek said she found the bat when her dining room set was delivered to her home on Wednesday.

“We opened and started building and unfortunately didn't notice the bat until we were building our third chair,” said Malek.

Malek and her husband didn't know what it was, and then realized it was a dead animal.

She said they were filled with panic and disgust.

“I was scared," she said. "It took me about a minute to get the words out to my husband about why I was so freaked out.”

She called public health and staff came to pick up the bat the same day. Her family has completed a risk assessment for potential exposure.

"I have felt so many feelings in the last two days," Malek said. "Definitely frustration, anger, disgust. We're very health-conscious people. We have done our best to play our part in safety during the pandemic. So, it was very shocking for this to be presented to us not by choice."

"This is an unfortunate and isolated incident," a statement from Structube, the company where the delivery came from, said. "We are in the process of investigating the origin of the bat."

The family was offered a return and a refund, along with the option to keep two of the unopened boxes or to repurchase the set at a discount.

According to Malek, they opted to return everything and that it comes down to customer service. “Had somebody contacted me, checked on my family, made sure we were ok, see what they could do this totally would have been different.”

Public health had this advice for anyone who may have encountered a bat or other unwanted animal or insect in a package:

  • Do not touch the animal if possible
  • If you need to handle it, use disposable gloves and put in a plastic bag
  • Call public health and an inspector will help do an assessment for potential rabies exposure (likely very low risk)
  • The animal can be disposed in the regular garbage in a double bag if it doesn't need to be tested
  • Wear disposable gloves while cleaning areas the animal came into contact with, and use a solution of one part bleach and nine parts water
  • Clean any droppings using the same solution, clean up using gloves and dispose in a plastic bag
  • Wash hands

Malek said her family is hoping to hear back from public health soon about any potential exposure to disease from the bat.

For now, she is looking for another dining room set.