FARMINGTON, Minn. (KMSP) - A Minnesota woman was arrested for animal cruelty this week after authorities found more than 100 cats - more than 60 of them dead - at her rural Farmington rental home.
On Thursday, investigators with the Dakota County Sheriff’s Office and the Animal Humane Society executed a search warrant on the woman’s property after receiving a call about a loose, 400-pound pig running around the yard. Keith Streff, a senior humane agent with the Animal Humane Society, said they had started receiving complaints about the property a few months ago.
The woman also owns and operates an animal rescue. That is likely the reason for the number of animals in the home, Streff said.
“Obviously, that got out of control, which is not terribly uncommon in my world,” he said.
The exterior of the home was a mess when investigators first arrived and there was a strong odor coming from the property. Later, during the search, investigators found dead cats in a shallow grave in the yard, a detached garage and a freezer and refrigerator inside the home. Investigators also located one dead rabbit and five dogs that were still alive.
The Animal Humane Society has taken control of the living animals found on the property.
The property owner is aware of the incident and is cooperating with the investigation, Streff said.
Investigators do not know how long the home had been in this state, but the landlord had reportedly visited the property in November and said it was habitable.
According to Streff, the woman may have a second property elsewhere, potentially with more animals.
The woman was arrested without incident, but she was released Friday without being charged. The investigation is ongoing.
"We take claims of animal abuse very seriously," Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. "Further investigation is needed to determine the cause of these cats' deaths and who is responsible."