San Diego Woman Found Living in Van With Over 300 Pet Rats

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Sometimes, when humans become homeless, the same happens for their pets. The world can be heartless to members of all species.

But some situations are worse than others and can quickly get out of hand.

A homeless woman was living in her car with over three hundred pet rats whom she provided with food and water.

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A woman named Clara started off with just two pet rats, which seemed harmless enough.

She was homeless and living out of her van, which was parked in the parking lot of the Circle K where she worked.

However, her rats began to reproduce. No number of rat cages could hold them, and the van became more like a hive.

It was Clara herself who reached out for help in caring for the rats, whom she now hopes go to new homes.

Clara has clearly seen better days, and others reached out to help her.

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The San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to Captain Danee Cook of the Humane Society's law enforcement department.

"[We] realized right away the situation was significant," Cook begins.

"They could tell immediately that it was a huge amount (of rats)," Cook's statement recalls.

Cook explains: "They were living out of the van, coming and going."

Rats were apparently "in every crevice," even burrowing into the seating and chewing through the vehicle's wiring.

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"She was feeding all of them, had water for all of them," Cook notes.

Cook adds: "This didn't meet the standards of hoarding."

Animal hoarders tend to create an unsafe and unhealthy environment for themselves and their pets.

But Clara was doing everything that she could for the rats, and knew that she couldn't do it alone.

"This was not a cruelty case," Cook emphasizes. "This was a relinquishment, an owner asking for help."

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A GoFundMe was set up to help Clara.

It raised $5,000 fairly quickly.

In addition, someone donated a used van to Clara as her old one no longer drove and had been partially eaten.

Clara had been in danger of losing her job if the van was not soon towed, but the towing company would not take it while it was full of rats.

(Quick note: if you don't want a van full of rats in your lot, pay your employees enough that they can afford to not be homeless)

Clara reportedly used the raised funds to pay off debts, and then insisted that she did not need any other money donated.

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Fund organizer Vanessa Hodges Black also spoke about Clara's plight.

"She is an amazing person who has had a string of bad luck," she characterized.

That describes like 98% of the homeless population.

"She is NOT looking for a handout at all," Black emphasized.

Clearly, someone who asks donors to stop sending in money is not being greedy at all.

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Black explains that she tried to set up Clara with more money, with charities who might help her find a non-van residence. Even mental health services.

"She is refusing any help in these areas," Black says. "She claims there is no problem."

"I've also called, emailed, or communicated with the following, and again, I CAN'T DO ANYTHING FOR HER," Black expressed.

She continued: "She has to step up and accept the help herself, get herself qualified, etc"

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"This post may sound negative (I am just exhausted from this) but it shouldn't and isn't," Black wrote.

"The community should be VERY proud of themselves for stepping in to help another human being in need, not to mention the helpless rats."

Speaking of the rats, remember that these are pet rats, not to be confused with feral rats who have very different behavior.

Animal lovers in the San Diego area can adopt same sex pairs of rats for as little as $5.

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