Charges: 124 cats found in Crystal home covered in animal waste

A Crystal woman has been charged with animal torture after 124 cats in poor conditions were removed from her home that was covered in animal waste.

On Monday, 47-year-old Shawna Maria Duffy was charged with ten counts of overworking or mistreating animals.

The charges stem from an investigation in Plymouth, where officers were informed that someone had illegally dumped animal waste in the city. Using surveillance, law enforcement identified a suspect vehicle.

A criminal complaint states the owner of the vehicle told officers he was dumping bags of feces for his girlfriend, Shawna, who lives in Crystal.

Law enforcement went to Duffy’s home on Dudley Avenue North in Crystal but were unable to locate her, according to the complaint. However, officers reported hearing animal sounds coming from inside the home and the odor of cat urine detectable as far as 15 feet away from the residence.

After trying to make contact with Duffy several more times, Animal Control officers and law enforcement executed a search warrant on the home on Feb. 27, where Duffy was found inside.

The complaint notes that officials also found nearly 100 cats in the home initially, which was in such poor condition that “every surface of the inside floors, walls and any furniture were coated with mud-like substances determined to be dried cat feces and vomit.”

Officers noted the air was thick with ammonia, and cats were hiding in furnace vents, crawl spaces, empty cardboard boxes and holes in the walls.

Court records show the home was eventually deemed unfit for human habitation by city inspectors.

19 additional cats were recovered from the home in early March, according to the complaint. Altogether, 124 cats were taken from the home, three of which were kittens.

All 124 cats had upper respiratory infections of varying severity, with 40% having severe infections and 70% being underweight. Nine cats were ultimately euthanized for severe conditions.

Duffy is due in court on April 30 for a first appearance.