Minnesota woman kept 64 dead cats, numerous malnourished creatures at her animal 'rescue' home
25-year-old Caycee Lynn Bergel was charged with one count of felony animal cruelty and 12 counts misdemeanor animal cruelty and pleaded guilty to all counts this past week at the Dakota County Courthouse.
A Minnesota woman who was found to have 64 dead cats, 43 live cats, a 400-pound pig running loose, and other animals in her 'rescue' home has pleaded guilty to her charges and been sentenced.
According to the Twin Cities Pioneer-Press, 25-year-old Caycee Lynn Bergel was charged with 13 counts of animal mistreatment — one of which is a felony — after a May 2018 search of her rural Dakota County animal-rescue operation saw authorities find 64 dead cats, as well as a host of other neglected animals.
Dakota County sheriff's deputies were called to her rental property 'Minnesota Animal Rescue'/'Minnesota Foster Cats and Kittens,' three times in April and May 2018 on reports that numerous dogs and cats inside the home, and a 400-pound pig, were running loose inside.
During one of the calls, the owner reportedly went inside the home and saw cats that were "skin and bone." A criminal complaint states that, on May 9 that year, deputies from the sheriff's office and an Animal Humane Society agent finally entered the home with Bergel's permission and saw 20-30 cats and dogs running loose inside.
They also saw the floors, walls, and windows covered in animal feces, and when they searched the backyard, they found cat carcasses and animals buried in shallow graves. The next day, when deputies entered the residence again with protective equipment for a second search, they discovered 35 dead cats stored in a garage in "various stages of decomposition," dead animals in freezers and refrigerators, and an "overwhelming noxious" odor of animals, urine, and feces.
An examination by the Animal Humane Society — which had given Bregel 144 cats and one dog to take care of between July 2017 and February 2018— revealed that the cats were severely malnourished and suffering from various illnesses, with one cat having to b euthanized because of its poor health.
Furthermore, authorities then found nine cats, seven puppies and a dog living in poor conditions at a "shelter" the 25-year-old had not yet opened at 949 Eighth St. in Farmington. Bregel was subsequently charged with one count of felony animal cruelty and 12 counts misdemeanor animal cruelty and pleaded guilty to all counts this past week at the Dakota County Courthouse.
She was sentenced to 365 days in jail but ordered to serve just three of those days behind bars. She was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service and pay restitution to the Humane Society and the owner of the home she destroyed; she will be on supervised probation for two years, and will be subject to electronic monitoring for 90 days.
The judge also ruled that she cannot own, possess, or care for any animals for two years and that a search may be performed at the discretion of the concerned authorities if there is a suspicion that she is keeping them. She will have to also comply with mental health directives, take medications as prescribed, follow recommendations of the psychological evaluation, supply a DNA sample, and cooperate with the search of her person, residence, vehicle, workplace, property and things.