Car troubles are an ongoing headache for a majority of Rocklanders—hilly terrain, and make a regular habit of incurring costly repairs.
But for West Nyack resident Laura Rose, $4,500 in recent damages was not weather related.
It was rats.
"[Tuesday morning] I caught one in my car in a trap and one at our front door in a bowl of water," Rose, who lives on Germonds Avenue, explained. The massive rodents chewed apart two vehicles' upholstery and wiring, destroying seats and built-in computer systems. And it took Rose completely by surprise.
"We have been living here for six years and have never seen sewer rats," she said. "Before I caught the culprit, we thought squirrels were eating our cars. It turns out it was a mob of rats that damaged both our cars."
Rose was quick to contact the Rockland Heath Department, which supplied a handful of traps—but it's not enough, Rose said.
"The Health Department... [is] under funded and we will need more," she said. Further, Rose will have to pay out-of-pocket for some of the repair costs. "Even with car insurance we have to pay a deductible and for the cost of trapping the animals," she added.
"This is the second time in 10 years I've seen something like this," said Rick Price, who works with the Rockland County Department of Health.
Patricia Coleman, 's animal control officer, said it's an odd occurrence, but there may be a number of explanations behind the rat attack. "Sometimes when there's new construction this happens," she said. Currently, a utility company is drilling near Rose's home.
"When there's flooding, this happens, too," Coleman added. In August, Hurricane Irene on West Nyack, destroying a number of homes.
It could also be as simple as animals seeking warm shelter. Coleman said it is generally cats that climb into cars during the winter, but rats will sometimes do so, as well.