‘For Furever’ founder charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty after 8 dogs found dead in Cottage Grove, others neglected in Andover

A woman is charged with nearly two dozen counts of animal cruelty in Anoka County following an investigation that started when eight dead dogs were discovered by Cottage Grove police back in October.

Court documents say Carley Mackenzie Ryan, 36, of St. Paul, admitted that the initial eight dogs found dead on Grey Cloud Island came from her rescue shelter, “For Furever,” in Andover. She now faces 22 counts of animal cruelty after investigators served a search warrant at the rescue and found several dogs living in terrible conditions.

Of those 22 counts, four are felony-level, which can carry up to two years in prison, four are gross misdemeanors, which carry up to one year in prison, and the rest are misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail. She’s not currently in custody and is scheduled to make her first court appearance in March.

RELATED: Police: Bodies of 8 dogs found on Grey Cloud Island in Cottage Grove

Ryan told investigators that she got the initial eight puppies from an auction about a month before they were found dead in Cottage Grove.

About a week after she got them, Ryan said the puppies contracted parvovirus, which is deadly and contagious, but treatable. The virus attacks a dog’s white blood cells and the gastrointestinal tract.

Ryan said the puppies died within the first week of October and they did not receive any licensed veterinary care, but she did feed them fluids and some specialty food for easy digestion.

The complaint notes that the lack of any medication or medical aid meant the eight puppies suffered a “painful and prolonged demise” before their natural death at the Andover facility. None were humanely euthanized.

RELATED: Police: Person confessed to dumping dead dogs on Grey Cloud Island, investigation ongoing

The criminal complaint, filed in Anoka County, details the squalid conditions the dogs were found to be kept in when deputies searched the Andover facility.

Court documents say a deputy found a vehicle registered to Ryan at a business near the 15800 block of Seventh Avenue Northwest in Andover on Oct. 18, 2023.

When an investigator went to that location the next day, he noticed the strong smell of feces and saw six or eight dogs of various breeds and sizes running loose inside the building. There were also other dogs being kept inside kennels. The complaint says the investigator then contacted the property owner, who confirmed Ryan was the tenant and operating “For Furever.”

A team of Anoka County deputies, joined by a Humane Society agent and a veterinarian, executed a search warrant on Oct. 20. Ryan was reportedly at the location when authorities arrived.

Deputies say they were “met by the overwhelming odor of feces and urine” when they entered the facility. The complaint describes several dogs running loose on a floor that was wet and covered in excrement.

RELATED: 22 dogs rescued from Andover facility amid investigation into Cottage Grove dog deaths

A total of 22 dogs, including terriers, bulldogs, poodles, pit bulls, shepherds and other mixed breeds were seized. The dogs were reportedly kept in cages that were too small, lacked bedding and did not contain any food or water. All dogs had some form of fecal or urinary scald to their feet and urine staining or feces matted into their coat. The complaint states that the scalding happened because of the dogs’ lack of access to a clean and dry place to stand or lie down.

After clean air was introduced into the building, the Humane Society agent then got a reading of ammonia levels and found them to range between 44.7 ppm and 48.1 ppm. The complaint notes that ammonia can be detected at 5 ppm and that increased levels and prolonged exposure for animals can cause infection, scarring of lung tissue and potential lifelong issues.

The dogs were ultimately surrendered, but none were healthy enough to be adopted without some form of medical or behavioral treatment.

RELATED: Humane Society takes in 8 more dogs amid investigation into Cottage Grove dog deaths

You can report animal abuse or neglect in the state of Minnesota by CLICKING HERE or calling 612-772-9999. Anyone wanting to learn more about the AHS’ Humane Investigations team can do so by CLICKING HERE.

Anyone who needs help providing care to an animal is urged to call the shelter’s pet helpline at 952-435-7738 or send AHS a message by CLICKING HERE.