It took weeks to find every cat in that house.

Rescuers from the Animal Humane Society scooped them off filthy floors, coaxed them out of walls and heating ducts. One cat. Ten cats. Dozens of cats. One-hundred and twenty-four cats and kittens plucked from a home in Crystal earlier this year, where they had been collected by an owner who now faces 10 felony counts of animal mistreatment.

It was a sad story. The kind that makes you despair for humanity or fold your newspaper into an airplane and aim it out the window.

But this sad story has about a hundred happy endings.

Nobody is happier than Dr. Graham Brayshaw, director of veterinary medicine at the Animal Humane Society, who has watched Minnesotans step up, one after another after another, to adopt almost every cat that survived the ordeal.

A dozen are still waiting for homes, he said. Mostly mama cats and kittens who will be ready for the adoption floor in a few weeks.

"It is depressing work, dealing with cruelty cases and hoarding," Brayshaw said. "But it's really worthwhile."

Calls about abused, neglected and hoarded animals have soared in Minnesota over the past year. The Animal Humane Society has seen more than 700 abuse and neglect cases since last July – double the number they saw the year before.

Part of the increase, Brayshaw said, was driven simply by the mild winter that gave neighbors early warning that something amiss.

In Crystal, there was so much cat urine and feces saturating the house, you could smell it from the yard. But law enforcement went into the house to relieve the suffering of the creatures inside — the cats and their human.

Shawna Duffy, 47, faces her first day in court at the end of April. Legal action is one way to get help for hoarders who have been living in filth and neglecting their animals, and it ensures they won't take in more pets anytime soon.

While the Humane Society was working to clear the cat adoption floor at its Golden Valley facility, a call for help went up in St. Cloud.

Ninety-four cats and kittens, were rescued this month from a home in Crosby, Minn. by law enforcement, the Minnesota Federated Humane Society and the Tri-County Humane Society in St. Cloud.

It's the happy endings that keep rescuers going on days like that.

On the hard days, Brayshaw remembers Hattie — "a very cute, sweet, golden/Lab mix" — who was one of 131 dogs rescued from a Pine River puppy mill in 2013. Legal red tape left all the dogs in the care of the humane society for months, which gave staff time to fall in love with Hattie, who needed extra care for a nasty infection on one of her legs.

"She was the silver lining from this horrible situation," he said. "But the fact that we're able to place 10,000 animals a year is really rewarding as well."

Eventually, Hattie was adopted and renamed Alice. She starred on the promotional material for the 2014 Walk for Animals fundraiser, he said, and lived a happy life with a loving family until the end of her days.

Right now, the cat adoption floor in Golden Valley is almost empty, but the dog adoption floor is almost full.

But just wait, Brayshaw said; kitten season is about to begin.