STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Arleen McLaughlin has worked at Straightline Collision for 17 years.
"About 15 years ago, there was a young boy that came in, he had been involved in an accident. And when they put the claim in they did not believe that he had hit a deer. They said it was absolutely impossible that he could have hit a deer on Staten Island. And now look at how many years later -- and we get collisions in here all the time," she recalled.
McLaughlin also recalled one recent week in which four customers came in because of a deer accident.
AAA says collisions are likelier just as darkness sets in, from about 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
That's when you'll find many deer head out to eat.
"The other day I was driving along here and there was just a little baby that crossed in front of us and went right into the woods," McLaughlin said.
Through August of this year, the NYPD says there have been 45 accidents involving deer on Staten Island.
It's a number that's expected to grow as October marks the beginning of rutting season.
In 2008 the deer population was estimated at just 24.
Now it's soared to around 2,000, according to the Parks Department.
Deer are such a nuisance that the city started giving male deer vasectomies to control their numbers.
About 1,400 bucks have been sterilized since the program began in 2016.
"Hopefully we'll capture a good number more of the bucks that are out there, and they'll be particularly focusing on fawns that were born this past spring," said Richard Simon of the NYC Parks Wildlife Unit.
Parks officials say there are about 100 fewer deer this year than last — a sign their plan is slowly working.
But there's more education to be done about co-existing with deer, especially when it comes to Lyme disease.
"People just need to be aware that they're in an area and that can include your backyard, where there may be ticks present, and take extra measures to check for ticks and remove them as soon as possible," Simon said.
The Parks Department has partnered with Columbia University to study where ticks are found and which kinds of ticks are prevalent in the borough.
Meantime, the Department of Transportation recently installed new signs like this one at three key intersections where accidents involving deer are common.
A public outreach campaign planned for later this month will inform drivers how to avoid hitting deer and what to do if a collision is unavoidable.