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Woman pleads guilty to animal neglect after over 60 dead cats were found

Caycee Lynn Bregel, 25, of St. Paul, has been charged with 13 counts of animal mistreatment — one of which is a felony — after a May search of her rural Dakota County animal-rescue operation uncovered 64 dead cats and more than 40 other neglected animals. (Dakota County sheriff’s office photo courtesy of KSTP)

A woman running an animal rescue in rural Dakota County pleaded guilty Friday, April 12, to 13 counts of mistreatment of animals, including the deaths of 64 cats and the neglect of more than 40 other animals.

Caycee Lynn Bregel, 26, was sentenced in Dakota County District Court to two years of probation, 90 days of electronic home monitoring, 200 hours of community service, restitution to the Humane Society and her former landlord, and a psychological evaluation. Bregel cannot own, possess or care for any animals, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

“The abuse and mistreatment of animals in the manner that occurred in this instance was unconscionable,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement. Prosecutors had sought jail time for the offenses, but Judge Jerome Abrams reduced the jail time to three days of time served.

According to the criminal complaint, Bregel received 144 cats and one dog from the Animal Humane Society between July 2017 and February 2018. She ran the nonprofit Minnesota Animal Rescue, formerly called Minnesota Foster Cats and Kittens.

She was arrested in May 2018 following a search of the home she was renting near Farmington.