Sunday, March 9 2014 8:35 PM EDT2014-03-10 00:35:58 GMT
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It all started Friday night. A customer shopping at the Kroger on Terry Rd. discovered mice droppings on a shelf.
"It was just disgusting. It turned my stomach. Me and a couple of other ladies parked our buggies and we left," said Cathy Nash, a shopper.
Nash went grocery shopping at a Kroger in Pleasure Ridge Park on Terry Road Friday night and left without buying a thing.
But not before speaking to a manager.
"He said, 'I just cleaned that last week.' and I was thinking to myself, 'if you have a mouse problem that bad, you need to be doing something everyday with it,'" said Nash.
Nash says the manager didn't seem to care about her concern.
"They acted like it was no big deal. No big deal at all," said Nash.
As they were shopping, her daughter reached for some pudding.
"She reached up to get the pudding and there were mouse droppings on the side of her hand," said Nash.
Nash couldn't believe it and started poking around on the shelf.
"Hundreds. I seen hundreds of mice feces on a shelf where the pudding was. It wasn't just a few. It was hundreds," Nash continued.
On Saturday, the problem was still there, as Fox 41's Rachel Collier went in the store and saw the droppings herself. Fox 41 News did a story that night -- and a Metro Health official saw the investigation. As a result, a health inspector was sent to the store on Monday.
Those findings were even more disturbing.
"What the inspector found was a couple of different areas where there were mouse droppings...and couple of areas where some mice had chewed into some packaging, chips, snack foods," said Connie Mendel, a spokeswoman for the Health Department.
And a mouse was found inside the deli case.
"Typically we're not worried about disease transferring," Mendel said. "It's basically just an indication of how clean the store is."
The Health Department says it's not uncommon for a mouse or mice to get inside a grocery store, but that the problem needs to be dealt with aggressively. They say the conditions in this store were basically an open invitation for mice to stay.
The inspector also found holes and cracks: possible entryways for rodents. Mendel says it appears pest control became "lax" at this location.
David Jacobs is a former pest control technician who used to work for McCloud Pest Control. He says he knows about the "lax" management all too well, as he inspected this particular Kroger store in 2009.
He started taking pictures of the ongoing problems two years ago.
"This is clutter underneath the counter area underneath the counters," he said, referencing his pictures and pointing to areas where he believed there were mouse droppings. Jacobs says he kept setting traps, but says management wouldn't fill holes and mice entry points.
"I told them they needed to fix this hole," said Jacobs pointing to a picture saying, "they stuck plastic in it!" Jacobs said.
Pest control is out at the Kroger tackling the problem.
Kroger declined to answer questions on camera but released this statement:
"As soon as we were made aware of the incident, we began a thorough cleaning process at the store that involved a specialized cleaning firm and our store personnel. We are working with local health officials and are confident that the affected area is clean."
The Kroger scored a 96 on a health department inspection last June.
The Health Department does not plan to shut the store down, saying it "is" safe to shop there now.