A St. Paul woman faces a felony mistreatment of animals charge and 12 misdemeanors stemming from the May 9 search of a residence in Castle Rock Township, south of Farmington.
Caycee Lynn Bregel, 25, is charged in connection with the death and care of numerous cats, according to a news release Aug. 29. She will be summoned to appear in Dakota County District Court in Hastings, though no court date had been set as of Wednesday.
Bregel was owner and operator of Minnesota Animal Rescue at the time of the alleged offenses. The nonprofit organization was renting the Castle Rock Township residence.
“This home, filled with cats and dogs, was in horrific condition when investigators gained entrance. Finding this many deceased, diseased and malnourished cats and dogs was extremely disturbing," Dakota County Sheriff Tim Leslie said in a news release.
According to the criminal complaint:
A deputy was dispatched to the residence May 9, 2018, on a report of a pig running loose. The deputy reported an "overpowering odor" upon arrival, prompting a call to the property owner and a subsequent search by authorities. Inside deputies observed several cats and dogs out of cages, as well as that the floors, walls and windows were covered in animal feces and garbage. Further investigation revealed the carcasses of several animals, both in shallow graves and around the backyard.
The residence was condemned by the county health department.
The Animal Humane Society examined living cats taken from the residence and determined they were malnourished and had several illnesses. One cat was later euthanized due to the severity of its illnesses.
Bregel had previously contracted with the Human Society to provide animal foster services, according to authorities. As many as 144 cats and one dog had been transferred to Bregel between July 2017 and February 2018.
“The abuse of animals in the manner alleged in this criminal complaint is unconscionable,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement. He thanked the Sheriff's office for investigating the case.
The investigation was aided by an Animal Humane Society agent.