The Cabarrus County Health Department investigated a Concord, North Carolina, Chinese restaurant after a woman said she saw roadkill being taken to it.
The woman took a photo of people picking up a dead deer off the road and throwing it in the back of their vehicle on Jan. 17.
She recognized the car from it delivering food to her home and office.
"I just couldn't believe what I was seeing," said the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous.
She called authorities after the car drove behind China Fun with the roadkill in the back, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“They were backed up to the restaurant door with that dead deer in that car they use for delivery," the woman said.
Police turned the case over to the Cabarrus County Health Department.
"We went there and found, indeed, they had slaughtered a deer, or were cutting up a dead deer in the back of the parking lot and had already brought parts inside, into the sink," County Health Director William Pilkington said.
WSOC-TV spoke to restaurant owner Sunny Chen on Jan. 20, who said he was the one driving the car in the images the woman sent in.
Chen said he stopped and picked up the deer from the side of the road after his friend told him he could. Chen told WSCO-TV the reason he picked up the animal was because he wanted to taste venison for the first time.
He apologizes to his customers, but said that the deer wasn’t for patrons, it was just for him. The owner even showed WSOC-TV reporters the kitchen and the sink where he put the deer meat.
When questioned about the wildlife investigation, Chen didn’t seem worried and said he trusts the decision of the department.
But the woman who reported the incident and snapped photos still wants China Fun shut down.
“Everyone is really upset about this, and I feel like it should be shut down," she said.
Pilkington told WSCO-TV that the restaurant will remain open because Chen made sure the deer wasn't cut inside the restaurant and there was no cross-contamination.
“There's nothing that can be done at this point in terms of shutting it down because there was no threat to the public's health," Pilkington said.
Health inspectors have been and will continue to implement surprise inspections at China Fun for several more days and will continue to perform more visits. The health director said there were no previous significant complaints regarding the restaurant.
When asked if he’ll ever bring roadkill back to the restaurant, Chen responded with “Never.”