124 cats rescued from Crystal house, woman facing animal torture charges

Stock image of police lights. (FOX TV Stations / FOX 9)

An investigation into illegally dumping feces on a Plymouth roadway led to the rescue of more than 100 cats from a house in Crystal

Court documents filed Monday say the Plymouth Police Department was investigating someone illegally dumping animal waste and identified the suspected vehicle on Bass Lake Road. Police spoke with the vehicle’s owner, who allegedly admitted to "dumping several bags full of feces" that came from his girlfriend, Shawna Duffy's, house in Crystal.

Authorities alerted Crystal police about the investigation, and officers went to the house on Dudley Avenue North. Law enforcement reported hearing numerous animals inside the residence and noted a strong scent of feces and urine that could be smelled from outside. 

Police were unable to talk with Duffy, and law enforcement attempted to contact her twice before returning to the house on Feb. 27 with a search warrant. 

During a search of the home, police said every surface was covered in dried cat feces and vomit, and the air was "thick with ammonia," charges read. The kitchen faucet had a continuous drip for the cats, and only one bag of food was open so the animals could eat.

Law enforcement said some cats were in the furnace vents, a crawl space under the main floor, and some climbed through holes in the walls. During the initial search, authorities recovered 93 cats, three kittens, and one cat's skull, according to the complaint. 

Authorities returned four more times at the beginning of March and recovered more than a dozen additional cats. In total, charges said 124 cats were removed from the house. 

A veterinarian determined the animals were "largely under-socialized, underweight, had respiratory infections, were malnourished, dehydrated, and many other painful conditions," the complaint read. 

Court records said all 124 cats suffered from upper respiratory infections, and approximately 40% had severe cases. Nine cats were euthanized for health-related reasons, three of which were due to severe respiratory infections. 

City inspectors determined the house was uninhabitable and boarded up the residence, according to court records. 

The 47-year-old woman was charged via summons with 10 counts of felony animal torture and is scheduled to appear in court on April 30.