Woman Living in Van With 300 Rats Gives Them up for Adoption After Admitting Collection 'Had Gotten Out of Control'

The San Diego Humane Society is hoping to rehome dozens of rats after more than 300 were found living with a woman in her van.

The woman came to the agency for help after her original two pet rats began multiplying, eventually leaving her with around 320 rats crammed inside her vehicle.

The woman was said to be living in her van at a car park in Via de la Valle, near Del Mar, reports The San Diego Union-Tribune. The appearance of the rats in and around the van sparked concerns from the community and local businesses.

On October 8, the woman eventually came to the San Diego Humane Society for help in relinquishing the animals.

"Her pet rat population had gotten out of control and she wished to relinquish all of her animals so they could find good homes," the agency said in a statement.

When the San Diego Humane Society went to remove the rats, officers "realized right away the situation was significant," Captain Danee Cook, of the agency's law enforcement department, told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

"They could tell immediately that it was a huge amount [of rats]," Cook said. "They were living out of the van, coming and going.

"This was not a cruelty case, this was a relinquishment, an owner asking for help," Cook said, adding the rats were fed, watered and not injured.

The situation could have been even worse for the woman, as the agency noted that many of the rats found in the van were pregnant.

The San Diego Humane Society has now put 140 of the relinquished rats up for adoption, assuring that they have all undergone veterinary exams and tests to make sure they are "healthy, happy and ready" for a new home.

The agency said they require that rats be adopted in same-sex pairs as they are social animals, unless anyone hoping to take one already owns a rat. The cost to adopt a pair of rats is $5 and they can be acquired at their campuses in Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego.

Elsewhere, a fundraising page was set up to raise money for the woman living in her van.

According to the GoFundMe page, she works at the convenience store near where she had parked the van and risked losing her job if she did not get the vehicle towed.

"We are working on a place to have the van towed to where it won't be threatening other businesses but it needs to be towed TODAY," a statement on the GoFundMe page states. "It will have to be demolished after that, as it is in horrible shape now. But junkyards, etc won't take it until the rats are gone.

"Once the van is towed, The GO FUND ME will be used to purchase Carla a used vehicle so she can continue to get back on her feet and get to work daily."

The page raised more than $5,000 for the worker. Humane Society officers said she has since found a new place to live.

The rats are available for adoption at the Humane Society's campuses in Escondido, Oceanside and San Diego. San Diego Humane Society