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Under-the-Hood-Winked Denver Airport Parking Rabbits Eat Car Wiring

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by underthesea

underthesea's picture
silver
Happened: 
In The News

Uh-oh, “bunny-o”: rabbits aren’t making friends with Denver International Airport (DIA) travelers whom own a 2002 or newer car or vehicle. Leave your car at the DIA airport parking lot and you could be “under-the-hoodwinked” by nibblers enjoying organic soy: the wiring component you didn’t know about.
 
Dexter Meyer is a DIA airport parking lot customer whom recently purchased a Turbo Diesel Volkswagen Jetta right prior to heading out for a nine-day vacation—he parked the new Jetta at Pikes Peak Parking Lot at Denver International Airport. Rabbits are enjoying models of 2002 and newer cars—vehicles which use a soy-based wiring instead of only rubber. If soy sounds weird, it’s actually contained and commonly used in more cars and car parts than most would believe: in fact Ford, just one manufacturer utilizing soy commonly, currently has more than two million cars on the road that contain the “tasty” rabbit treat.
 
Bunnies, mice and rodents love organic—and love to nibble. Meyer returned from his nine-day trip with a not-so-great homecoming at the DIA airport: "I turned on the [Volkswagen Jetta’s] ignition and all these lights started flashing [in the car], I pulled out the [new Jetta’s] car manual and it said I had a big problem, so I took it [the new vehicle] back to the dealership," he says. The Jetta was inspected--the problem indeed found to be “under the hood”. The car dealer’s service manager told Meyer, “Your wiring has been eaten by a rodent probably.”
 
The car dealership’s conclusion—and survey of the damage source--was an unexpected one for Meyer, who says he told the car dealership’s manager: “I live in Stapleton [Colorado]. I'm not aware of any rodents running around Stapleton.”
 
The Volkswagen dealership’s manager, however, held the missing clue: “'You didn't have the car parked at DIA [Denver International Airport] did you? We've had a significant number of problems with rabbits eating through the wiring in people's cars.” When then filing formal complaint with DIA Risk Management Department, pertaining to his new car’s physical damages and wiring problems--Meyer says he was told that the DIA airport is actually aware of the rabbit-related damages problem, but doesn’t know how to fix the bunny-munching issue.
 
Not that the Denver airport seems to have done much in the proactive department anyway. The airport told Meyers it has a fence. Meyers says he told Denver International, “I understand that [existence of a fence], but it's [the fence] clearly not working.” Well, either that, or the fence is actually working supremely: the DIA airport didn’t reference the large possibility that a multiplying rabbit population inside of the parking lot’s fence could actually be contributing to the problem—giving whole new meaning to the popular phrase, “don’t fence me in”.
 
The $238 car repair bill required—to repair Meyer’s new Jetta back to normal after parking at the Denver Airport parking lot-- is cheap compared to what might have been. Reports of rabbits eating car wiring and resulting damages can easily head toward the thousand-dollar and above range--if a rabbit chooses to nibble through more major or expensive car parts, including wiring harnesses on expensive vehicles, car repair costs can top a couple grand.
 
Meyer’s on a media “mission”, insisting that Denver International Airport parking lot customers should be aware and notified of what happened to him and his vehicle after parking at DIA’s lot.
 
Right now, the airport chooses not to post any type of signage or notify parking customers—in any way—of the potentially serious and expensive damage problems that can occur with its nibbling bunnies. So why is Denver International Airport so popular with the animal kingdom? It’s not simply that the rabbits are enjoying the scenery or loud overhead planes. Bunnies enjoy organic food—and that includes soy.
 
Rabbits are attracted to the soy-based wiring used in many new cars which are being parked at DIA. Those wiring harnesses are tasty, and tasty enough that the result is a non-starting car. For parking lot customers that own a junker, there’s no worries—and for travelers whom haven’t recently upgraded their ride since 2002, the zone is also free and clear. What bunnies want is the newer vehicle models, which now use soy as an eco-friendly substitute for petroleum-based products.
 
Straight rubber isn’t so enticing to the rabbits or rodents—but cars and vehicles manufactured from 2002 onward place themselves in great danger for hungry bunnies, mice and other rodents. Soy is now routinely used in car manufacturing: soy content more than doubles the stretchability factor versus straight petro-based rubber alone—and the affordability factor, for car manufacturers, is making natural soy popular.
 
Believe it or not, soy has actually been used within the realm of foam products—related to cars and vehicles for years now. Car and vehicle seat cushions, seats and seatbacks, and even headliners commonly contain soy. The natural alternative to rubber isn’t expensive: soy is cost-efficient, with the Ford manufacturing giant apparently being one of the product’s biggest fans. More than 2 million Ford vehicles already use soy-based technology in parts. Ford also has a patent in the works—which would enable the car manufacturer to use soy in deflector shields and baffles, radiator deflector shields, cup holder inserts and floor mats in its creation of future vehicles.
 
The problem really does lie “under the hood”: rabbits and rodents, like mice, are known to commonly enjoy eating through car wires, vehicle wiring harnesses, and other ‘tasty’ parts. That fact doesn’t make the rabbit-munching problem at DIA so far removed from damages routinely caused by the animals and rodents. While the damage occurrence itself isn’t unique, refusal to properly address a known issue may create a very unique problem for the airport: most commonly known as negligence.
 
It seems the DIA airport doesn’t want to be admitting potential liability in the rabbit-munching extravaganza—however, neglecting to fix a known problem that’s already caused damages could lead to a forthcoming liability nightmare. Following media coverage—including video footage—it’s not exactly like Denver International Airport can claim a lack of knowledge, pertaining to any future rabbit damage incidents. It’s Meyer’s new missive to create change at DIA airport and its parking lot—or at least in terms of proper notification, concerning potential damages, to customers parking there.
 
The Denver International Airport rabbit problem is currently not communicated to parking customers in any form—including no signage or notification of the bunny-related potential damage for parked cars and vehicles. That includes no signage which could protect the airport—or any indicator that customers choosing to park on the property would be doing so at their own risk. "I'm just concerned people know and that the [Denver International] airport is at least notifying people" whom are parking in the DIA airport lot, says Meyers.
 
Denver International Airport officials admitted to the media (KUSA) that roughly a dozen of the rabbit-related damage claims, for reimbursement, roll through its offices each year. The airport refused media outlet KUSA’s request to be on camera—additionally declining to release a statement regarding Meyer's “rabbit” incident.
 
There is video footage of the airport's onsite rabbit posse, providing proof that a rabbit population of potential wire nibblers does—in fact—exist on Denver International Airport parking lot grounds. Apparently DIA is under the impression that the safer and smarter alternative is to ignore what is fast becoming a liability issue for the airport.
 
Adding insult to injury—after Meyer’s car wires were chomped--Denver International Airport claims it is impossible to prove that Meyer’s rabbit-munched wires occurred at the DIA airport parking lot property.
 
The funny part: Meyer's never asked the Denver airport for a penny related to car repairs and damages he says occurred at the airport's parking lot. The parking lot's customer even paid about $50 for the time parked at DIA. He says that all he wants from Denver International is notification to others, of what happened to him and his car--so that it doesn't continue to happen to others.
 
An investigation, into paid damage claims pertaining to the eating rabbits, would probably not prove so great for the airport’s image—and, now that Meyer’s experience has been brought to the forefront, DIA’s refusal to notify parking customers could prove more of a liability than actually admitting to the problem.
 
Lack of signage or efforts to increase awareness for parking lot customers—in an issue that cannot be claimed as lack of knowledge after all of the media coverage—seems destined for at least one negligence claim, should Denver International continue on its current path. The Larry Miller Dealership in Lakewood, Colorado, where Meyer’s Jetta was purchased has confirmed Meyer’s sequence of events to media outlet KUSA—that the owner’s car was repaired for damage caused by rodents or rabbits.
 
The car dealer’s manager also verifies that the dealership has seen at least a handful of cars come into the car retailer’s recently—with owner complaints that their car warning lights have been triggered after parking at Denver International Airport.
 
Denver International Airport allegedly told Meyers that it was going to increase “patrols” for the rabbits—a statement making it hard to resist: might that be “foot patrol”?

Location

Denver International Airport DIA (DEN)
8500 Peña Boulevard
Denver, CO 80249-6340
United States
Phone: (303) 342-2200
39° 50' 57.5808" N, 104° 40' 25.77" W
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