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$1.45 million Wolfeboro property called unfit after more than 70 dogs rescued

Union Leader Correspondent

June 19. 2017 10:51PM
More than 70 Great Danes were rescued Friday from this house at 149 Warren Sands Road in Wolfeboro, where they were living in squalid conditions. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

WOLFEBORO — A gated mansion where police and animal welfare workers discovered 75 Great Dane dogs living in fetid conditions last week is being declared unfit for human habitation, according to town officials.

Town Manager Dave Owen said Monday that the process of ordering the premises vacated has begun at 149 Warren Sands Road, which officials said was being used as an illegal commercial kennel operation.

Under state law, a town health officer has the authority to order occupants to vacate a property if the conditions constitute a clear and imminent danger to the life or health of the occupants or the public.

Owen said the town may also seek to recoup its costs related to the case.

Police and animal welfare officials said the hardwood floors in the eight-bedroom, nine-bath home were slick with animal waste, making walking precarious for the dogs and the people trying to remove them. 

Christina Patterson Fay, 60, who bought the property in 2015, was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of animal neglect and was released on personal recognizance bail on the condition she not possess any animals while the case is pending. 

The Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue Team members John Sidenstricker and John Peaveler load dogs during a rescue of approximately 70 great danes from a suspected puppy mill on Friday in Wolfeboro. (Meredith Lee/The Humane Society of the United States)

Fay did not respond to a message seeking comment left at the property, where police said she had been living with two other adults.

If convicted, Fay could face up to a year in jail, a $1,200 fine and a court order to pay restitution for the care of the dogs, pending trial.

The home was built in 2004 on the site of a 53-acre reclaimed gravel pit near Lake Wentworth.

Its assessed value is $1.45 million. The taxes are current and last year totaled $22,969. 

Wolfeboro police served search and arrest warrants about 8:30 p.m. on Friday. They found the dogs housed in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, with limited access to food and water, police said. 

Seventy-five dogs were rescued from inside the house and nine puppies were seized from a property Fay owns in Bartlett, according to police. 

A sign outside the house where Great Danes were rescued. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

Lindsay Hamrick, the state director for the Humane Society of the United States, who helped with the rescue operation, said many of the giant dogs had free run of the house and that there was evidence that some had been fighting. 

Some of the dogs were unsocialized and had never been on a leash, compounding the difficulty of trying to remove them from the home without stressing them further, she said. 

Once an air-conditioned tractor-trailer outfitted with built-in cages was filled to capacity, Hamrick said, there wasn’t a single bark, indicating to her the dogs were happy to be in that clean, safe environment.

All of the dogs remain in the care of the HSUS.

Crime Public Safety Animals Wolfeboro

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