The operators of a Chinese restaurant in Grass Valley reportedly walked away from the business about three weeks ago — leaving behind a kitchen full of food and a quartet of turtles in an ornamental pond.
On Monday, Grass Valley Police officers were called to the business in the 600 block of Freeman Lane after reports of “thousands of flies” and possible live turtles, according to dispatch reports.
The then-owner of the Chinese buffet apparently closed the doors and abandoned the property about three weeks ago, said Sgt. Steve Johnson.
“We started to get calls that it was dirty and in disarray,” Johnson said. “Apparently the turtles were visible, and people were concerned about their well-being.”
Animal Control Officer Roger Waina went to check the situation out and was able to see a turtle sticking its head out of the pond through the window.
“A turtle is an animal, and you can’t abandon them,” he said.
The man was contacted and said he had been checking on the turtles every two or three days, although Waina expressed skepticism.
“There was an issue with flies,” Waina said, adding there was extremely rotten food in the kitchen.
Waina met with the owner Tuesday, and the man retrieved the four box turtles in the restaurant and started the clean-up process.
Representatives from Kimco Realty Corp., which owns the Pine Creek Shopping Center, did not return calls for comment.
It is not the first time abandoned animals in a business caused a health hazard in the shopping center.
In 2008, a mice infestation in an abandoned pet store, the Pet Mine, caused an odor problem for neighboring tenants. The pet store closed, and pet or feeder mice were left behind.
“Upon receiving calls from an adjacent tenant that there was an infestation of mice in the space, we entered the space and found evidence that many mice had been abandoned by the tenant. At that time, we coordinated an abatement of the infestation with our pest control company,” a Kimco representative said at the time.
To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4229.