A Farmington woman who was arrested after Animal Humane Society investigators discovered 100 animals at her home — including 60 dead cats — will not be charged for now with animal cruelty.
Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom declined to file charges Friday, 24 hours after authorities removed more than 40 live cats, five dogs, a farm pig, hamster and a dead rabbit from a single-family home 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 released Friday from the Dakota County jail. She was arrested Wednesday at her home, where she operates an animal rescue nonprofit.
“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 had reported a foul smell near the messy property. While executing a search warrant, investigators discovered dead cats in shallow graves, in a garage and in a freezer.
Bregel, who leases her home, describes herself on social media as a “Christian Powerlifter, Nutritionist and Animal Rescue Founder.”
“I love God, cats, tossing iron around,” she says on her Twitter page. She is listed as the owner of Next Level Fitness, a Farmington weightlifting gym.
Bregel founded Minnesota Animal Rescue, a nonprofit that aims to lower euthanasia rates among animals in the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. The nonprofit takes in abused animals or those in dire medical condition, its website says. Its listed address is actually Bregel’s fitness studio, about 5 miles from her home.
The Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley and the Dakota County Sheriff’s Department are jointly investigating the case. All of the surviving animals remain at the Humane Society.
Liz Sawyer • 612-673-4648