COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — When Animal Farm co-owner Hudson Terrell discovered possible criminal activity by his business partner, he didn’t wait long to act.

“I went straight to a lawyer, then went straight to the police,” Terrell told News 3. “It was within us discovering it and us going to the police was within about 30 minutes.”

That launched a Columbus Police investigation that led to the arrest of Dennis Cleveland Thompson, 37, also known as Landon Thompson.

Terrell, 25, and Thompson had owned the business together for more than a year.

The last six week’s have been difficult for Terrell.

His world and his business have been rocked by allegations that his partner was secretly recording customers and staff in the restaurant’s bathrooms.

Terrell is one of the victims of these alleged crimes. WRBL does not name or identify sex crime victims, but Terrell waived that to talk about this experience.

And part of that experience has been dealing with staff and customers. All 26 Animal Farm employees have remained with the business in the wake of the allegations.

“We had kept it really tight because that’s what the police asked me to do,” Terrell said. “So, they could continue doing the investigation in private without letting the suspect know what was going on. So, we kept it under wraps and they told me I could go ahead and tell the staff. I sat everybody down and told them the truth.”

That was not easy.

“We, honestly, aren’t trying to hide anything or keep anything from them,” Terrell said. “So we told them everything that was going on. Just prayed that they were going to stick with me and try and keep it going.” 

And all Terrell has for his staff is praise.

“Our staff in general is literally the best group of people I have ever worked with,” he said. “Not only are they very good at what they do, but they are just amazingly genuinely good-hearted people. And everybody really cares about each other moreso than any place I have ever seen.”

Not only as the staff stuck with him, so have many of the restaurant’s customers.

“We have been able to create loyal customers,” Terrell said. “And provide something to them that makes them want to come back. There is not much I can really say other than thank you.” 

The entire interview will be available on News 3 Sunday Morning, as part of the Sunday Conversation beginning at 8.