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Twelve new animal cruelty charges brought in neglected Great Dane case 

  • Christina Fay of Wolfeboro appears in District Court at the Carroll County Superior Courthouse in Ossipee on Sept. 6, 2017. Fay was charged in June with abusing more than 80 Great Danes following a rescue operation by local officials and the Humane Society of the United States. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Christina Fay of Wolfeboro appears in District Court at the Carroll County Superior Courthouse in Ossipee on Sept. 6, 2017. Fay was charged in June with abusing over 80 Great Danes. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Christina Fay (center) of Wolfeboro appears in District Court with her attorney Kent Barker at the Carroll County Superior Courthouse in Ossipee on Sept. 6, 2017. Fay was charged in June with abusing 84 Great Danes. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • Christina Fay of Wolfeboro appears in District Court at the Carroll County Superior Courthouse in Ossipee on Sept. 6, 2017. Fay was charged in June with abusing more than 80 Great Danes. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • James Cowles (left) and Kent Barker, defense attorneys for Christina Fay of Wolfeboro, speak to reporters following an appearance in District Court at the Carroll County Superior Courthouse in Ossipee on Sept. 6, 2017. Fay was charged in June with abusing 84 Great Danes. ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff

  • A dog waits to be loaded onto a transport vehicle as The Humane Society of the United States rescues approximately 70 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Wolfeboro, N.H. The Wolfeboro Police Dept. called in The HSUS to assist with rescue and long-term care of the dogs. (Meredith Lee/The HSUS) Meredith Lee

  • The Humane Society of the United States works with the Wolfeboro Police Dept. to rescue approximately 70 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Meredith Lee/The HSUS) Meredith Lee

  • The Humane Society of the United States works with the Wolfeboro Police Dept. to rescue approximately 70 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Meredith Lee/The HSUS) Meredith Lee

  • The Humane Society of the United States works with the Wolfeboro Police Dept. to rescue approximately 70 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill on Friday, June 16, 2017, in Wolfeboro, N.H. (Meredith Lee/The HSUS) Meredith Lee

  • The Humane Society of the United States worked with local officials June 16 to rescue dozens of Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill in a Wolfeboro mansion owned my Christina Fay. Courtesy of the Humane Society of the United States



Monitor staff
Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Prosecutors filed 12 new animal cruelty charges, bringing the total to 14 filed against a woman accused of keeping more than 80 Great Danes in filthy conditions in a Wolfeboro mansion and not providing proper medical care.

Lawyers representing Christina Fay said they hadn’t had a chance to review the charges before a status conference in Ossipee’s district court Wednesday morning. But Kent Barker and James Cowles said their client was an attentive dog owner who has been eager to see the animals since they were taken from her three months ago.

“She feels deeply and strongly about the dogs,” Barker said. “They have unique needs, and we’re anxious to know if they are being met.”

Fay was arrested in June after officials were tipped off about unsanitary conditions at her gated home, worth about $1.5 million.

Wolfeboro police and representatives from the Humane Society of the United States, flown in from HSUS headquarters in Maryland, said they found walls and floors covered in feces and urine, as well as maggots spilling from the refrigerator.

Veterinarians later noted a long list of illnesses the dogs were suffering from, including skin infections, contagious diseases, cuts and malnutrition.

Fay has countered the accusations, saying the dogs received “highly competent and appropriate medical care,” while they were under her supervision.

“The dogs were cared for, while in Mrs. Fay’s possession, according to a daily schedule ... that included watering, feeding, exercise and cleaning of the areas where the dogs were kept overnight,” he lawyers argued. “The schedule was carefully formulated to fit the unique traits, conditions, medical concerns and needs specific to European Great Danes.”

Earlier this month, Fay claimed the dogs were “seized, not rescued” by law enforcement and should be placed in homes of her choosing while the case against her proceeds. She has also filed an injunction against the Humane Society of the United States to stop them from performing surgeries on the animals that are currently in their care.

In court documents, she said she learned from news reports that two Great Dane puppies were euthanized by the Humane Society.

“They remain her property, yet she did not receive notification that their lives would be or were ended by the HSUS,” Fay’s lawyers argued.

Prosecutors countered by saying Fay must argue for the return as part of the criminal case against her.

But Fay will not be left completely in the dark about the status of her dogs. Carroll County District Court Judge Charles Greenhalgh approved an agreement Wednesday that will allow a veterinarian of her choosing to observe the dogs located at the Humane Society shelter where the dogs are located.

Lindsay Hamerick, New Hampshire director for the Humane Society of New Hampshire, said she was pleased with the additional charges, which have been expected for some time. She said the amount of attention the case has garnered – Gov. Chris Sununu calling for stronger animal cruelty laws – shows people are invested in the outcome of animal cruelty cases.

It’s attention, Hamerick said, that her organization hopes to use to make changes to animal husbandry and cruelty laws in the state. She said the Humane Society plans to introduce two pieces of legislation in 2018.

One law would require a judge to look at the evidence associated with a case before determining how much a person convicted of animal cruelty should pay for their case. Hamerick said care for the Great Danes is going to cost $500,000 – money that, in most cases, the municipality where an animal cruelty case takes place is responsible for. The Humane Society has partnered with the Wolfeboro Police Department to take care of the animals while the case against Fay is ongoing.

The second law would have the state’s Department of Agriculture look at the number of breeding females a dog breeder has when handing out commercial breeding licenses. Currently, a breeder must be licensed by the Department of Agriculture if it sells more than 50 puppies a year; under the Humane Society’s legislation, breeders would have to be licensed if they own five breeding female dogs.

Fay is scheduled to appear in court again Oct. 3, when a judge will decide whether she is allowed to have control over the rehoming of the dogs while the case against her is proceeding. A trial date has been set for Oct. 25.

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)