5 On Your Side

Pizza Hut Closed After Mice Found Inside

Posted June 5, 2007 6:36 p.m. EDT
Updated June 6, 2007 1:07 p.m. EDT

— Health inspectors on Tuesday shut down a local Pizza Hut after live mice were found inside the restaurant.

The Pizza Hut at 3691 New Bern Ave. scored a 90 during an inspection Monday, but the inspector noted rodent droppings behind an ice machine.

A contractor laid out boards covered with glue Monday night to get rid of the rodents, and shift manager Venice Spivey found six live mice stuck to the boards Tuesday morning.

Spivey called the Wake County Health Department, and inspector Naterra McQueen ordered that the Pizza Hut be closed. She said she also pulled the restaurant's permit so it can't operate until the rodent problem is corrected.

McQueen told WRAL she couldn't close the restaurant based only on the presence of rodent droppings because she didn't see any live animals inside during the inspection.

Spivey said she had seen mice in the restaurant for about two weeks before the inspection.

"I saw about 10 mice," she said. "Everybody saw them. Customers saw them. We had customers calling us to the dining room, saying, 'Look, we've got friends.'"

A spokesman at Pizza Hut's corporate office said the chain is committed to providing a safe dining experience for customers. He said he expects the restaurant to reopen Wednesday.

The restaurant also was cited for a moldy ice machine, dirty dishes and standing water in the dishwasher.

Spivey said she was fired after blowing the whistle, when she refused to clean the restaurant's kitchen.

"I said, 'I can't go into the kitchen right now. I don't feel comfortable in the kitchen,'" she said.

She said she's glad she notified the health inspector about the mice.

"I'm jobless, but I don't have any regrets," she said.

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