A search of a Minnesota property revealed at least 60 dead cats inside a freezer, according to reports.
A Farmington woman was arrested after the Animal Humane Society investigators found 100 animals at her home, which included the 60 dead cats, the Star Tribune reported.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said that officials have declined to file charges. Officials had removed 40 live cats, five dogs, a farm pig, a hamster, and a dead rabbit from the single-family house in rural Dakota County.
“We take claims of animal abuse very seriously,” Backstrom said in a statement. “Further investigation is needed to determine the cause of these cats’ deaths and who is responsible.”
Caycee Lynn Bregel, 25, was arrested but released on Friday from a Dakota County jail. She had operated an animal rescue nonprofit from her home.
“Obviously, that got out of control,” said Keith Streff, an agent with the Humane Society. “A call came in about a loose 400-pound pig running around in the yard.”
Neighbors, meanwhile, said that a foul odor was emitting near the property, which was described as unkempt, the Star Tribune reported.
“It’s about as bad as you can get,” Streff added, according to the Miami Herald. “It’s a catastrophic environment.”
“I am still traumatized by what I saw,” Keri Bedeaux, owner of Protecting Paws Animal Rescue in Prior Lake, told TwinCities.com. “It was very clear that it was neglect and abuse.”
Bedeaux said that she thinks Bregel meant well and wanted to help, but she quickly became overwhelmed.
“I kept reporting her, but no one listened,” Tania Richter, owner of Fur-Ever Home Rescue in Zimmerman, Minnesota, was quoted as saying. Richter said that she thinks the Humane Society should not have kept giving Bregel animals in the first place.
Bregel, according to Richter, got thousands of dollars in donations to place the animals that would have been euthanized.
The goal of her nonprofit had been to reduce the number of pets that are euthanized in Minnesota, according to its website. Bregel, according to TwinCities.com, also owns the Next Level Fitness gym.
“We are committed to lowering the euthanasia rates in the Twin Cities, the state of Minnesota, and the Midwest,” its website says. “By rescuing animals placed on the euthanasia list at local shelters and impounds, we are helping pave the way to make the world a better place for the most vulnerable animals.”
Other details about the case were not made clear.
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