Gran in near-death experience as rats chew through car brake cables

Rats chewed the brake cables of Janet's car.
Rats chewed the brake cables of Janet's car.
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Tenacious rats in Roseburn caused a near-death experience for a grandmother after they unwittingly chewed through her brake cables.

Traumatised Janet Reid was driving with her grandson in the car when she tried to brake at a busy Loanhead roundabout.

Janet Reid's car brake tube was chewed through by a rat - only discovered after she tried to brake at a junction. Mechanic found rodent hairs on the chewed cables

Janet Reid's car brake tube was chewed through by a rat - only discovered after she tried to brake at a junction. Mechanic found rodent hairs on the chewed cables

Terrified the car wouldn’t stop in time or would swerve and hit one of the cars on either side, she crunched through the gears in a bid to slow down.

Janet said: “The brakes failed at a roundabout going into Loanhead.

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“I was in the middle lane, so couldn’t put on the handbrake in case the car pulled to the right or left.

“I had to crunch the gears to stop it and I couldn’t have been more than a hair’s breadth from hitting another car.”

Badly shaken and white as a sheet, Janet managed to get the car into the nearby Nissan garage.

The mechanics showed her the rat hairs still stuck to the gnawed cables.

“I was shocked,” she said. “My stomach was churning. I couldn’t believe they could chew through the cables.

“We have had rats before because there is greenery and bushes at the back, but it is way worse this year.

“Pest control have been, but they don’t seem to have made any difference. They’re lovely houses and it’s a lovely area. I don’t want to move, but I don’t want the kids subjected to this. It’s 2018 not 1918 and we should be able to keep the rats under control.”

READ MORE: Overflowing bins at heart of city’s recent surge in rats

Darren Docherty of The Lawrie Veterinary Group said he was surprised to hear rats had chewed through metal parts of the cables. He said motorists “can rest assured” that it is unlikely to happen on a regular basis.

He explained: “The incisor teeth of rats never stop growing. They chew on many items to keep these teeth at an appropriate length. They do chew through a plethora of items on a regular basis, yet are not 
commonly as destructive or dangerous as this.”

For Janet, it is the fourth time this year she has had to have repair work done due to rodent damage – a problem she said was driving her demented.

“I love where I live, but the cost of having the car fixed is giving me sleepless nights,” she said. “My 14-year-old grandson, who has autism and stays with me most the time, won’t go out on his own because he’s terrified of them.”

Of the 150 properties in the Russell Gardens estate, 24 are occupied by Dunedin Canmore tenants, including Janet. Housing director Alan Glasgow said they would consider removing vegetation to alleviate the pest problem. He said: “We’re really sorry to hear of our tenant’s problem with her car and will continue supporting her in any way we can.

“We are doing everything possible to play our part in tackling the issue of rats in the area. That includes contacting the council’s pest control department immediately when anyone reports an issue to us.

“We’ve also recently been calling in a private pest control firm to deal with the problem and we’ve introduced extra cleaning patrols. We have written to residents reminding them to dispose of their rubbish responsibly and will do so again.

“If there are any other measures which would alleviate the problem, including removing vegetation, we would be happy to look at that.”