A couple has filed a $2 million lawsuit after discovering that the home they purchased in Annapolis, Maryland, was infested with snakes.
Jeff and Jody Brooks moved in to the property with their two young children in January, but it wasn’t long before they became aware of the intruders. According to ABC, the couple's 4-year-old son discovered the first snake, which was seven feet long.
“Once we found three and the size of them, of course your emotions are going crazy,” Jody told WUSA. “We've kind of settled our fears by talking to the experts, but my first quest was, 'Help me emotionally; just tell me that this snake would never have mistaken our 4-month-old baby for a vermin and curled up in the crib with her.'”
The family moved out temporarily, before calling in pest control experts. Specialists have since discovered about 15 black rat snakes, snake skins, feces and tunnels the reptiles used to travel around the property.
“As they pulled back the onion, it only got worse and worse,” Matthew Evans, the family’s attorney, told ABC. “It’s so bad that the family was told the only way to guarantee the snakes leave is to burn down the home and let it sit for 15 years.”
“I think in the sale of a home, a professional, you should let somebody know of every possible issue when you buy the house,” Jeff told WUSA.
The lawsuit accuses four parties of failing to inform the family of the problem: realtor Barbara Van Horn, Champion Reality Inc., the Joan Broseker Revocable Trust and previous homeowner Joan Broseker.
“She said she had the world come out and look at it and there was no problem,” Jody said of Van Horn. “She's going to be our neighbor. She is a licensed agent. Who do you trust? A rumor in the area or a licensed agent?”
In addition to the cost of the home -- $410,000 -- the lawsuit includes $60,000 in pest control bills and $1 million in punitive damages.
“I think that everybody’s sensationalizing this,” Van Horn told ABC.
An attorney for the real estate agency refused comment, ABC reported.
“We were originally going to fix the problem,” Jody told ABC. “Now we just want our money back and to start over. It’s emotionally exhausting and overwhelming.”