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Judge in Great Dane case says warrant was justified 

  • Christina Fey 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 84 Great Danes. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz



Monitor staff
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

The judge in the case involving the alleged mistreatment of about 80 Great Danes denied the defendant’s motion to suppress the search warrant, ruling Tuesday that Christina Fay’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy was not violated when the Humane Society of the United States entered her Wolfeboro home to assist police.

“The use of the HSUS was quite reasonable given the limitations of the (Wolfeboro Police Department),” Judge Charles Greenhalgh wrote in his decision. “Not only did the WPD have the obligation to gather evidence through the search, it was required to take the extra step of caring for the animals which it knew would be seized. Only an organization like the HSUS could have provided this assistance.”

The trial will resume Nov. 14 in Ossipee district court.

Fay was charged with 11 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and negligence in June after Wolfeboro police found dozens of dogs in her million-dollar mansion. Feces and urine coated the floors, and an eye-stinging scent of ammonia filled the air, Wolfeboro police officer Michael Strauch said in an affidavit.

Since then, veterinarians have testified that the dogs were suffering from contagious diseases when brought to undisclosed Humane Society shelters, while defense attorneys Kent Barker and Jim Cowles have called medical professionals who have speculated that the dogs might have gotten sick after they were taken from Fay’s home.

Barker and Cowles asked the judge last month to suppress the search warrant, claiming it had failed to identify the HSUS and other civilian volunteers who participated in the raid.

Barker and Cowles also cited the HSUS’s use of photographs and video, saying the organization had exploited the case to promote its cause and raise funds.

But Greenhalgh ruled this did not violate Fay’s rights or defame her, writing, “As the State has argued, there is nothing new about police departments or other law enforcement agencies displaying evidence they have seized in the media, in order to improve their image with the public.”

“If the defendant believes she has been defamed or her property misused,” the judge continued, “she is not without remedy through civil proceedings.”