May 11, 2018 08:05 PM
Authorities say they removed over 40 live cats and 60 dead ones from a rural Farmington residence after executing a search warrant.
Also among the animals removed were five live dogs and one dead rabbit. A farm hog and a guinea pig were also present on the property. The Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley and the Dakota County Sheriff's Department were investigating a criminal animal cruelty complaint.
“It’s about as bad as you can get, it's a catastrophic environment,” said Keith Streff, an investigator with the Animal Humane Society.
"A call came in about a 400-pound pig running around in the yard," Streff said.
He said when they got on scene, there was a foul odor and the owner was reluctant to let them in so they obtained a search warrant.
Streff called it a hoarding situation that got out of control.
“There were dead animals in shallow graves, there were dead animals in an unattached garage and there were dead animals in a freezer and a refrigerator inside the residence,” he said.
The woman caring for the animals was arrested at the scene Wednesday night. The Dakota County Sheriff's Department confirmed the woman's identity as Caycee Lynn Bregel, 25.
According to the Animal Humane Society, she was operating the Minnesota Animal Rescue.
Streff said a couple of months ago problems started to surface.
“I track these types of organizations and I had heard information that she had had more animals than she was able to adequately maintain,” he said. “She was on the radar, we were working that way when the case all the sudden broke.”
The matter remains under investigation.
A release from the Dakota County Attorney's Office Friday afternoon said Bregel would not be charged Friday.
"We take claims of animal abuse very seriously," County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement. "Further investigation is needed to determine the cause of these cats' deaths and who is responsible."
The release said the Humane Society has taken control of the animals, which were recovered on a follow-up visit Thursday.
Callan Gray and Frank Rajkowski
Updated: May 11, 2018 08:05 PM
Created: May 11, 2018 11:52 AM
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