28 December 2015

Losses and Lessons: Squirrel escapes dogs, who sink their teeth into Cadillac

VEHICLE INVOLVED: 1968 Cadillac DeVille

WHAT WENT WRONG: This is about the one that got away, but it isn’t about a barn-find Cobra or COPO Camaro. The owner of a 1968 Cadillac DeVille parked his classic in the garage – safe from the elements but not so safe from his dogs and their surprise playmate. When a squirrel found its way in, it was startled to see the hounds, who chased it under the Cadillac and into the engine bay. Unable to catch their prey, the dogs took it out on the Caddy, gnawing on the fender where they’d last seen the squirrel.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The passenger-side fender was covered with scratches and bite marks. Cost to repair the damage came to $740, which Hagerty paid.

LESSON: Many claims are caused by animals, often by the owner’s own pets. So unless you’re moving your car or working on it, it’s best to keep the garage doors closed, the car covered and the pets out of the garage when you’re not there. While you’re at it, make sure there is nothing nearby that a pet (or stray squirrel) can tip over onto your car.

14 Reader Comments

  • 1
    dave Ashland, Ohio December 30, 2015 at 15:16
    Your sooooo true in the suggestion to NOT leave anything around in the garage near your cars. I had some kind of critter run loose in my garage last winter. Somehow it escaped and Left behind a path of destruction. Lucky for me the worst priceless piece it destroyed was my 1948 Cleveland Indians bobble head doll. Too many pieces to glue so I bet I could find many on E-Bay. Can I claim that Hagerty guys?
  • 2
    Ted Hils Alabama December 30, 2015 at 16:40
    My dogs did the same thing to my 1965 Corvette, not long after I had it painted. They never got the squirrel, either. Stupid squirrel!
  • 3
    steve jasonville,ind. December 30, 2015 at 16:57
    dead, dead,dogs
  • 4
    Larry Blyly Hartford, mi December 30, 2015 at 18:05
    My son had just finished painting his 1970 Maverick. Our border collie was accustomed to jumping on to anything on command. He was so proud of the finish, he patted the hood. That was the signal, and she jumped onto the hood. Back to the paint sprayer!
  • 5
    Ken Dagdigian Chatsworth CA December 30, 2015 at 18:40
    Same thing happened to my Porsche Boxster when my dog chased a squirrel that ran into the side vent and Emily went after it, tearing out the vent and scratching the fender...... cost a bit over $900. She did not catch the squirrel.
  • 6
    Michael Adirondacks in upstate New York December 30, 2015 at 22:09
    Dogs chasing squirrels around and over your collector car might be avoidable with proper precautions. A friend of mine was rightfully concerned about his kids and their friends " accidentally" scraping his near perfect 1966 Chevelle Convertible so he rented a secure garage that was exclusively his ....and his alone. No kids bikes, no family cats, no rakes or lawn mowers that might bump into this beauty. And my friend had the one and only key. The garage was designed with just two high Windows way up just under the eves and all seemed safe and secure. Every precaution seemed to have been taken. One summer evening a horrendous thunderstorm ripped through town and a turbulent wind lifted a huge tree right out of the ground and replanted it securely "dead center" on top of the garage and the car. Even the best laid plans of men and mice have the possibility of failure.
  • 7
    Jarl de Boer California December 31, 2015 at 15:31
    And if you have to park your baby outside, even for two or three days, ALWAYS put some mothballs and rat bait under the hood (with a NOTE TO SELF on the seat!) otherwise it's 50/50 that you will find wire damage, urine corrosion, and nut shells and nesting even in that short a time. Lesson learned!
  • 8
    Neil Denver December 31, 2015 at 16:41
    Must've been some kind of wimpy dogs. We've got four Bernies, and they would've just eaten the whole Caddy. They routinely chase small woodland creatures into neighbors' drainpipes, under porches, and into woodpiles; then, they tear the containment - whatever it was, whatever it was made of - to shreds. Be afraid; be very afraid. Neil Rose, Policy No. 2P32424-00
  • 9
    Jarl de Boer California December 31, 2015 at 18:59
    And if you have to park your baby outside, even for two or three days, ALWAYS put some mothballs and rat bait under the hood (with a NOTE TO SELF on the seat!) otherwise it's 50/50 that you will find wire damage, urine corrosion, and nut shells and nesting even in that short a time. Lesson learned!
  • 10
    Ed Price Chula Vista, CA December 31, 2015 at 07:26
    I had a friend who worked as a pet sitter and who had just bought a new Kia Rio. She picked up a white German Shepherd from one client, and drove to another client's home (in a very rural part of California) to do a welfare check on the client's dogs. She left the GSD in her locked car (it was cool and overcast and she was gone only about 15 minutes). When she returned, she noticed her driver's side mirror was on the ground. Then, as she examined her new car, she saw deep claw marks on every body panel, even the roof. Both mirrors had been torn off, the rear plastic bumper was hanging from a single wire, there were puncture holes around all of the wheel wells, and the LR wheel well liner was ripped away from the body. Police initially thought it was a coyote, but the bite holes were more likely a mountain lion, trying to get at that tasty white snack in the car. Insurance wrote off the car as a total loss, and she told me the GSD hid in her client's bedroom for over a week. The local CHP office actually pinned some damage photos on their station wall as an example of what a mountain lion can do in just a few minutes.
  • 11
    Tom San Francisco December 31, 2015 at 08:14
    Also make sure a squirrel never gets locked in your house while you are a way. That happened to me once it cost about $3000 damage chewing on custom window sills trying to get out and it stunk up the place after it died.
  • 12
    K Johnston Idaho December 31, 2015 at 09:28
    I had to chuckle at this story, although I have sympathy for the Caddy owner. I've been there too, in my case it was a chipmunk and a PT Cruiser, which was neither badly damaged nor valuable enough to bother repairing. My Australian Shepherd was probably damaged more than the car was, she cut her mouth trying to rip the plastic grille away to get at the chipmunk!
  • 13
    Kay Schultetus Grand Rapids, MI January 4, 2016 at 10:42
    Absolutely! We store our brand new 1978 Thunderbird in our unattached garage for the winter. When spring came we found a squirrel has gotten into the garage and panicked - or was just not terribly graceful. Things were knocked from the rafters onto the hood and we had to have the hood and one front fender repainted. Not a happy find and would certainly be more heartbreaking with a classic car you'd lovingly refurbished!
  • 14
    Tony Simonetta Toronto, Ontario January 4, 2016 at 12:41
    We park 2 cars on the driveway and last winter, we discovered that squirrels or raccoon s are getting into the engine compartment to stay warm. Unfortunately, they destroyed the insulation and bite through the wiring, which, cost $900 to fix. Does anyone out there know of any pest product that will keep these pests out of my engine compartment.

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