Woman pleads guilty in animal mistreatment case

FARMINGTON, Minn. (WCCO) - Police say a 26-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to 13 counts of animal mistreatment in connection with the deaths of numerous cats.

Authorities say Caycee Lynn Bregel, of St. Paul, owned and operated “Minnesota Animal Rescue,” a nonprofit organization that had been renting a residence located in Castle Rock Township, Dakota County. The court imposed 365 days and stayed 362 days; two years of probation; 90 days of electronic home monitoring; 200 hours of community work service; and restitution to the Humane Society and her former landlord.

In May 2018, deputies were called to the residence on a report of a pig running loose near the home. Officials say Bregel then gave deputies permission to enter the home, where deputies found several uncaged dogs and cats. According to a criminal complaint, the floors, walls and windows were covered with animal feces and garbage.

“The abuse and mistreatment of animals in the manner that occurred in this instance was unconscionable,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom, who announced the guilty plea Friday.

Deputies also located several animals buried in shallow graves on the property and the carcasses of dead cats scattered across the backyard. Several living cats were removed from the residence. The investigation revealed the cats were severely malnourished and suffering from multiple illnesses, according to the criminal complaint.

The judge also ordered a psychological evaluation for Bregel. She can no longer own, possess or care for any animals.