okay nancy ! i enjoyed this week of odd news! thanks for the challenge
NEW YORK - A dozen rats were caught on video scurrying around the floor of a New York City KFC/Taco Bell restaurant early Friday, running between counters and tables and climbing on children's high chairs.
News crews flocked to the windows of the Greenwich Village neighborhood restaurant, which hadn't opened for the day. By midmorning, the footage was all over the Internet and television news shows, with onlookers giving a play-by-play from the sidewalk as the rodents moved about.
"He's coming for his close-up," one bystander said as a rat came near the window.
Employees came to work, but no customers were allowed in as health inspectors arrived.
There was no answer at the phone number displayed in neon on the store window below the words "We Deliver."
"This is completely unacceptable and is an absolute violation of our high standards," KFC and Taco Bell said in a statement. "This restaurant has been closed and we are addressing the issue with the franchise owner. We will not allow this store to reopen until is it completely resanitized and given a clean bill of health."
The chains said construction in the basement on Thursday "temporarily escalated the situation."
The city Department of Health had inspectors at the site on Friday, said department spokeswoman Sara Markt. She said the restaurant had passed inspection in December, but a violation was issued to the restaurant owner about "evidence of rats" — which meant only droppings at the time.
Markt said the owner of the franchise is listed with the department as ADF Fifth Operating Corp.
Rats have long been a problem in New York City, with such a dense population and such a large and readily available food supply for the rodents. They are frequently scampering through subway tunnels, rooting through trash, dashing across parks and burrowing into the walls of apartment buildings.
But it is rare to see so many rats congregating in one place in such public view.
Yum Brands Inc., based in Louisville, Ky., owns the Taco Bell and KFC restaurant chains.
Last week, it was reported that Taco Bell sales had slumped after a widely publicized E. coli scare, but that international sales helped Yum Brands in the company's fourth quarter.
The E. coli outbreak late last year caused more than 70 Taco Bell customers to become ill. Federal officials said in December that the most likely source of the illnesses was lettuce. Taco Bell took precautions by changing its suppliers of lettuce and cheese in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.