Camilla restaurant under investigation after social media post shows kittens in the kitchen

Camilla restaurant under investigation after social media post shows kittens in the kitchen
Health investigators are looking into a claim of kittens in a Camilla restaurant's kitchen. (Source: Georgia Department of Public Health's Facebook page)

CAMILLA, GA (WALB) - Health investigators are looking into a claim of kittens in a Camilla restaurant’s kitchen.

This comes as a Facebook post with photos and videos received some attention online.

Someone sent us a Facebook post that claims to show photos of kittens inside the kitchen at Debbie's Main Street, a restaurant in Camilla.

At one point on Monday afternoon, it had more than 100 shares, but we can no longer view the post because it says it is now unavailable.

WALB spoke with the public information office for the Southwest Health District. She confirmed the Mitchell County Health Department has launched a joint investigation with the county code enforcement office.

That investigation follows an official complaint that was filed regarding animals in the food prep area.

We were also told the health department inspector and code enforcement inspector will do an unannounced on-site inspection and will take into account the photos posted on Facebook as well.

WALB has spoken with the owner of the restaurant, Debbie Spence, who claims the woman who posted the photos is a disgruntled employee.

“This is an angry employee that was let go and this is her way of getting even, and she told me she was going to do this,” said Spence. “This was staged to look like this by an angry employee. The pictures were taken over a month ago in case I ever decided to fire her.”

Spence said her restaurant’s door is open to anyone who wants to have a look around.

“Anybody that ever wants to come in my restaurant and look how clean it is, is welcome to come look,” Spence said.

We also asked Spence about the health department’s investigation.

“I am prepared for the health department to investigate because there is nothing going on there. They won’t find any kittens or anything,” explained Spence. “I’ve been in business for 22 years and I know all the health codes and everything I’m supposed to know about running a restaurant, so I know you’re not supposed to have animals in the prep area.”

Spence said she does plan on filing charges against the employee who posted the photos.

“You don’t do this. You don’t try to ruin somebody’s livelihood because you are angry,” said Spence. "I could have pressed charges against her today but I didn’t because I just wanted her to go away and leave me alone.”

We have reached out to the person who posted the photos but have not heard back at this time.

Officials said the goal is to work with the restaurant to ensure it is up to code.

According to public records online, the restaurant had its last inspection in August of 2017 and received a score of 90, a grade of A.

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