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Neglect case: Great Danes' owner says she should decide where the dozens of dogs are 'rehomed'

By BEA LEWIS
Sunday News Correspondent

August 12. 2017 8:26PM

Charley is one of 16 of the rescued Wolfeboro Great Danes in need of emergency eye surgery for an ophthalmic infection. (LINDSAY HAMRICK/HSUS)

Lawyers representing the Wolfeboro woman charged with animal cruelty after 75 Great Danes were removed in a July raid of her mansion home are asserting Christina Fay's ownership rights and have asked a judge to allow their client to immediately find new homes for the dogs.

In an Aug. 10 injunction filed in Carroll County Superior Court, attorneys Kent Barker of Nashua and James Cowles of Wolfeboro argue that the state lacks probable cause to show the dogs were abused. They contest the confiscation of the animals and maintain Fay should be able to choose where they end up.

"Mindful of the pending criminal action, Christina Fay submits that the state is obligated to show that confiscation and continued possession of the dogs is supported by facts that rise to the level of probable cause," reads the complaint.

The defense is asking a judge to order that the dogs, which have remained in the custody of the Humane Society of the United States since July 16, "could be immediately rehomed" upon Fay providing a list to the court of the name, address, telephone number and email address of the "rehomed destination."

To ensure that the dogs receive adequate health care and treatment, Fay would agree to post a bond.

The state would be allowed to inquire as to the details of the dogs' new homes "within reason," according to a draft order the defense filed with the court.

Fay also wants a judge to bar the state from allowing surgery to be performed on any of her dogs.

Christina “Tina” Patterson Fay of Wolfeboro, seen in this mug shot taken by Carroll County Department of Corrections, was arrested on two counts of cruelty to animals on June 16, 2017. (Carroll County Department of Corrections)

Citing the extensive media coverage the case has garnered, including news accounts reporting that "emergency surgery" has been performed on several of the dogs, the defense asserts in court filings that Fay notified the state through counsel via email by July 27, that she did not consent to the Humane Society of the United States scheduling or performing surgery on her dogs.

Superior Court Chief Justice Tina Nadeau denied the defense request to grant a temporary injunction "ex parte" without notice to the state, but ordered a hearing, which is scheduled for Aug. 30 at 1 p.m.

Wolfeboro police found 75 Great Danes living in Fay's $1.5 million mansion, with feces, urine and maggot-infested food everywhere. Some of the dogs were locked in cages, or kept in basement kennels, while others roamed free throughout the 23,000-square-foot home that the town's health inspector has since declared unfit for human habitation.

Authorities charge the dogs had little access to water, and when inspected by a veterinarian were discovered to have a variety of health problems.

Others were later diagnosed with contagious diseases including papilloma virus, a herpes-like illness, skin infections, cuts and malnutrition.

Fay, 59, has been charged with alternate counts of animal cruelty. The first alleges that she negligently deprived dogs of necessary care and substance, by not providing adequate food or water.

The second charges that Fay knowingly permitted dogs in her possession or custody to be subjected to cruelty, inhumane treatment, or unnecessary suffering by keeping them in an environment in which they lived in their own waste, were not properly treated for disease and injuries and were fed infested food.

Both charges are Class A misdemeanors punishable by a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

If convicted, a judge could bar Fay from owning animals outright, or limit the number she could own.

Meanwhile, the town has filed suit against Fay asking a judge to order that she pay civil penalties for violating the town's zoning ordinance for operating a commercial kennel in a residential zone. 

The town is also seeking to recover its costs for the police and fire departments' "participation in the rescue operation on July 16."

In response to the suit, Fay's lawyers deny that she was operating a kennel from her 149 Warren Sand Road home.

The town says records from the Secretary of State's Office show De La Sang Monde Great Danes LLC has been registered to breed and sell Great Danes at Fay's Wolfeboro address.

In an April 21 letter, the town's planning director notified Fay that kennels are not permitted by town zoning at her address, and said she would need a variance from the Zoning Board of Adjustment and also "some level of site plan review" to continue. Fay never applied for a variance or sought site plan review and continued to use the property as a kennel, the town's suit contends.

Fay's criminal trial is now scheduled to be held in the 3rd Circuit District Division Ossipee Court on Oct. 25.


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