Officials: Exotic birds and cat found in cafe's kitchen

- A South Jersey cafe is the talk of the town after exotic birds were found flying around the kitchen, according to officials. 

Township and health department officials are already taking action, but customers are finding it pretty unappetizing.

Pictures surfaced of two birds perched on plates and a cat loose in the kitchen prep area of AJ's Café on Route 9 in Galloway Township.

"It just makes you feel like 'Ew, I ate there,'" customer Doris Wood said.

Doris and her husband had breakfast there on two occasions but say never again.

"Oh, we ate there. Terrible, disgusting, I hope they are closed down and can't reopen."

Galloway Township Police Chief Donna Higbee says officers were responding to an unrelated police matter on Friday when they discovered the animals loose in the restaurant.

"Eventually, while we were there they landed. They were flying around and landed on a plate and were eating," Chief Higbee said.

The health department responded immediately, shutting down the restaurant for varying unsanitary conditions and posted signs that read "unfit for human occupancy."

We could not reach the owners for comment. However, on AJ’s Cafe's Facebook page it says they are the proud parents of three birds named Ralph, Skittles and Jade, and that they occasionally come to work but are kept in a locked cage in an office...away from food prep.

The post goes on to say that conures are social birds that require human socialization, but will no longer be visiting at work and that this picture was taken at home.

The police chief says their photos tell a much different story, "To openly contact people and dispute that animals were loose in his kitchen. We clearly have evidence supporting that,"Chief Higbee said. "There was a cage as he stated but a five-foot birdcage in an office attached to the kitchen was open and birds were flying through the restaurant and kitchen area."

Other pictures show a cat and a dirty litter box, as well as electrical and code violations, all leaving a bad taste in customer's mouths.

Doris Wood of Galloway Township was unhappy, "How they thought they could get away with that. I don't know.”

The police chief says the owners did not have a required mercantile license and will have a court date on that. They also have to meet the County Board of Health's standards in order to reopen.

The restaurant remained closed Thursday.

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