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Owner of Dakota County animal rescue pleads guilty to multiple counts of animal abuse

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

Caycee Bregel

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 work service, restitution to the Humane Society and her former landlord, and a psychological evaluation. Bregel cannot own, possess or care for any animals.

“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 in Castle Rock Township, near Farmington.

Dakota County sheriff’s deputies were called to the rental property three times on reports of numerous dogs and cats inside the home and a pig running loose. During one call, the owner of the home said he went inside and saw cats that were “skin and bone” and without food and water.

The Dakota County Public Health Department condemned the house.

Another nine cats, seven puppies and a dog were found in poor living conditions at a shelter Bregel had not yet opened at 949 Eighth St. in Farmington, according to the complaint.

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