Update on animals seized in Dakota County humane case

August 29, 2018
James Bond, a black cat rescued in humane investigations case

James Bond was brought to AHS as part of the Dakota County humane case. You can read more about him and other cats from this case that are available for adoption on our Special Projects page.

Updated August 29, 2018

The Dakota County District Attorney’s Office has officially charged 25-year-old Caycee Bregel, founder of Minnesota Animal Rescue, with 13 counts of mistreatment of animals, one of which is a felony. Bregel will make her first court appearance on October 1.

Updated June 14, 2018

All 15 cats seeking alternative placement have been placed with a rescue partner, and 13 cats have been adopted from AHS.

June 8, 2018

In May, Animal Humane Society assisted the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office in seizing animals from a rural Farmington property rented by Caycee Bregel, founder of Minnesota Animal Rescue. Investigators discovered 60 dead cats on the property, and removed a total of 51 living cats, 12 dogs, and one guinea pig. That investigation is ongoing.

Recent media coverage and questions about the animals’ outcomes are circulating on social media. AHS is committed to being transparent about our alternative placement process and the animals in our care. We would like to take the opportunity to share more information about the animals from the Dakota County case and provide clarification around our alternative placement process.

Animal outcome update

Of the 51 cats removed from Bregel’s home, 11 have been adopted and eight more are waiting for new families in our adoption centers. All 12 dogs and the guinea pig have been adopted as well.

Last week we notified our rescue partners that we would be seeking alternative placement for a group of cats that are doing poorly in our shelter and that, we believe, will thrive in a different environment. The shelter can be an especially stressful place for some animals, and while we do everything we can to reduce that stress, some animals deteriorate in shelter and develop serious health and behavior issues. That’s why we’re working with rescue partners to get them out of our shelter as quickly as possible.

On Tuesday, June 5, we formally requested alternative placement for 15 cats from this case. Nine of those cats have already found placement, and we’ve extended the placement timeline, giving rescue partners until June 14 to confirm foster placement for the others. The cats that are not placed with a rescue partner and show no improvement while here may be humanely euthanized.

Five cats from this case are still being treated and evaluated here at AHS.

Twelve of the 51 cats were euthanized due to severe medical or behavior issues. Most of the euthanized cats were dealing with major health problems and showed no signs of recovery — they were suffering and in pain. One of the cats lay dying on an exam table as vet techs administered euthanasia injection. The decision to euthanize an animal is never easy. It’s one of the most difficult decisions we face as an animal welfare organization. Frankly, it’s heartbreaking.

At AHS, we set a goal to place as many healthy animals as possible into our community. That’s why we work with rescue partners and continue to asses and refine our alternative placement process.

More about our alternative placement process

Some animals find the shelter environment so stressful that they shut down or display fearful or aggressive behavior. Animal Humane Society does not have a foster-to-adopt program, so when an animal’s wellbeing is in jeopardy like this, we contact our partner organizations that offer foster-to-adopt and other long-term care alternatives. After receiving a list of animals seeking alternative placement, rescue partners have seven days to come in and visit with the animals in order to match them with the right foster homes. This process was designed in partnership with other rescue agencies.

If an animal on the alternative placement list doesn’t have a commitment within seven days, we review everything we know about the animal. Sometimes their behavior has changed for the better and we proceed with trying to find them a home. If they continue to degrade quickly, the next step may be humane euthanasia. 

So far this year, more than 93 percent of the animals on the alternative placement list have been placed with rescue partners or through AHS.

We are so grateful for the incredible network of rescue organizations in Minnesota. AHS partners with more than 100 rescue organizations each year to place about five percent of the more than 23,000 animals who come into our care. When we work together, we’re able to do so much more for animals who rely on us for help. It truly is a partnership!

If you’re interested in helping animals through a foster-to-adopt program with a local rescue partner, please review the list of AHS rescue partners here.

For caring, compassionate advice and resources to address all your animal concerns.

Contact the Pet Helpline