A year after investigators found 64 dead cats, 52 live cats, seven live puppies, a few dogs, a guinea pig and a loose 400-pound pig on her property, a Dakota County woman pleaded guilty Friday to 13 counts of animal cruelty.
Caycee L. Bregel, 26, served three days in jail and must also commit to 200 hours of community service, two years of probation, 90 days of electronic home monitoring, restitution and a psychological evaluation over the discovery that the animal rescue nonprofit she ran out of her rural home had more dead animals than live ones.
Numerous calls about the pig running loose in early May of last year led investigators to the house, which emitted an "overpowering smell of urine and feces," according to the criminal complaint. In addition to the cats, investigators found five to eight dogs in poor health; the floors, walls and windows of the house were covered in animal excrement. Dead cats were found in shallow graves across the backyard, in freezers and refrigerators, and in the garage.
Examinations of the living animals performed at the Animal Humane Society found them suffering from feline leukemia, respiratory tract infections, ear mites, fleas, and Giardia; in one case, an eyeball popped out of its socket.
Bregel leased the home. Dakota County Judge Jerome Abrams ordered Bregel to pay restitution to the landlord as well as the Humane Society for their work restoring some of the animals to health and euthanizing others. The home was condemned.
"The abuse and mistreatment of animals in the manner that occurred in this instance was unconscionable," County Attorney James Backstrom said in a news release.
Bregel was also forbidden to own or care for animals.