Police find 64 dead cats in Minnesota woman's home

A Minnesota woman was sentenced to 200 hours of community service, two years of probation and 90 days of electronic home monitoring after police discovered 64 dead cats in a home that she operated as an animal shelter, the Associated Press reports. 

Caycee Lynn Bregel, 25, was arrested in May 2018 after police initially responded to complaints of a pig running loose at a residential property. When they arrived at Bregel's home in Farmington, they discovered 64 dead cats, 43 live cats, a 400-pound pig and a variety of other animals, many of which were reportedly in poor health.

The dead cats were allegedly found in freezers, refrigerators and shallow graves in Bregel's backyard and her garage. 

At the time, Bregel was running a nonprofit organization called Minnesota Animal Rescue. Between 2017 and 2018, the Animal Humane Society transferred 145 animals — 144 cats and one dog — to her care with the understanding that she would "work to make sound decisions and provide the best medical and behavioral care for each animal," according to the society's memorandum. But Bregel failed to live up to her end of the bargain.

Photo: Dakota County Jail

A criminal complaint noted that police had previously responded to three calls of a pig running loose over the years Bregel operated the shelter, KTVU reports.

"We could check on a foster today and they're perfectly fine and tomorrow they break," Keith Streff, an investigator at the Animal Humane Society told KTVU. "If we knew why people do what they do, we'd fix it, but we can't withhold animals from everyone because we have a suspicion that there's going to be a problem."

A witness who was allowed into the home to feed the animals said that many of the cats also appeared "emaciated." Several had to be put down due to health issues. 

"The abuse and mistreatment of animals in the manner that occurred in this instance was unconscionable," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom told the station. 

Bregel was charged with 13 counts of mistreatment of animals, and her house was condemned the day following the  discovery. 

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