It took a 400-pound pig to tip off cops that an animal rescue home in rural Minnesota had a sick secret: Most of its animals were dead.
Deputies from the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the Minnesota Animal Center in Farmington Wednesday responding to a call about a hog on the loose, running around a yard.
When they arrived at the single-family home that houses the center, they found more than 60 cats and a rabbit were stuffed in a freezer.
“It’s about as bad as you can get,” Keith Streff, a Humane Society investigator, said at a news conference. “It's a catastrophic environment.”
He said that the sheriff’s office issued a search warrant, and that the Humane Society rescued more than 40 cats and five dogs. An investigation into the center is ongoing.
Caycee Bregel, who leases the property and operates the animal rescue, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, according to WCCO in Minneapolis. She was released Friday and prosecutors announced she won’t be charged with animal cruelty now.
"We take claims of animal abuse very seriously,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in a statement on Friday. “Further investigation is needed to determine the cause of these cats’ deaths and who is responsible.”
Bregel’s neighbor Lisa Mason works as a veterinary technician by day. She helped officials with the clean-up and called the living conditions “hell on Earth.”
“There’s feces, urine, just garbage you guys, strewing everywhere. You couldn’t even get in the rooms. There’s cats in the bedrooms with the doors closed,” Mason told WCCO.
[Photo: Dakota County Sheriff's Office]