64 cats found dead in woman's house

Investigators find dead animals kept in freezers and refrigerators on property

Conrad Duncan
Tuesday 16 April 2019 07:18
Woman pleads guilty to animal cruelty after 64 cats found dead in home

A woman who was found to have 64 dead cats and dozens of live animals on her property has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.

Caycee Bregel was running an animal rescue nonprofit out of her rural home in Minnesota when investigators discovered “unconscionable mistreatment" of more than 100 animals.

Court documents say investigators found deceased animals kept in freezers and refrigerators and approximately 35 deceased cats “decomposing” in a garage.

Ms Bregel was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and two years of probation, and ordered to undergo a psychological examination.

Investigators found 64 dead cats, 43 live cats, 5 dogs and a 400-pound pig on her property in 2018.

Ms Bregel received nearly 144 cats and one dog for care between July 2017 and February 2018 by partnering with an animal welfare organisation, according to court documents.

She pleaded guilty to 13 counts of animal cruelty and served three days in jail, according to Minnesota's Star Tribune newspaper.

She will not be allowed to own or care for any animals.

Investigators first became aware of Ms Bregel when complaints about a pig running loose led them to the house.

When they entered, they found an “overpowering odour of urine and faeces” and “animal excrement” covering the floors, walls and windows of the property.

The living cats were described as “emaciated” and appeared to have not been fed or given water for several days.

"The abuse and mistreatment of animals in the manner that occurred in this instance was unconscionable," county attorney James Backstrom said in a statement.

Ms Bregel was able to keep the animals by working with the Animal Humane Society as a foster partner.

Keith Schiff, an investigator for the organisation, said: “It is a nasty, ugly case at the expense of these animals and we’re going to hold that individual responsible for it."

He also attempted to downplay suggestions that the organisation had not done enough to monitor Ms Bregel.

"There is already oversight, it's just that you can't predict what someone may do. If they're very good today that doesn't mean something won't go wrong tomorrow," he told KTVU.

“I don’t know necessarily what went wrong in this particular case but you have to remember that she started out trying to help animals, got in over her head and this developed."

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