Woman living in van with more than 300 pet rats

SAN DIEGO, California (KTRK) -- Some residents have banded together to help a woman who was living in a van with hundreds of pet rats.

Neighbors say the woman is a gentle spirit, but her situation quickly got out of hand.

Hundreds of rats could be seen crawling inside the van, which was parked at a convenience store.

"Everywhere, there was not one place in the van where they had not gotten into. The wiring, the engine, they came and went from the engine area," Humane Society worker Danee Cook said.

Carla, who works at the Circle K, says she recently moved into her van after falling on hard times.

"She became homeless and moved into her van with the two rats, but they had babies," resident Kimberly Jackson told KGTV.

The Humane Society made multiple trips to remove the rodents, which were all deemed healthy and are available for adoption.

"She was extremely helpful during the entire process. She loved her pets, she just let it get out of hand and she became overwhelmed," Cook said.

The video of the rats in the van eventually made its rounds on Nextdoor, and neighbors also came out to help.

"She said 'Are you here to ridicule me like everyone else?' I said 'I saw what was going on in there, how can I help?' There were like 300 rats in that van," Jackson said.

Jackson and other neighbors set up a GoFundMe which has since raised more than $4,000.

Another neighbor donated a car to Carla, and now they're trying to get her mental health care and a place to live.

"She is just a gentle, gentle person. No one knew she was homeless. She's contributing to society and she fell on hard times," Jackson said.
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