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Great Dane rescued in cruelty case has died

Sunday News Correspondent

September 25. 2017 9:00AM
One of the Wolfeboro Great Danes enjoys some attention at an emergency shelter in this file photo provided by the Humane Society. (LINDSAY HAMRICK/HSUS)

WOLFEBORO – The legal team defending a Wolfeboro woman from animal cruelty charges announced Friday that one of the 75 Great Dane dogs seized from her home on June 16, has died while in the custody of the Human Society of the United States.

Lindsay Hamrick, N.H. state director for the Humane Society, confirmed a female dog, that caretakers had named “Bonnie”, died on Sept. 20, and that a full necropsy was being completed to determine the cause.

“We want that information not only for this dog, but as well as for the health of the others,” she said.

Christina Fay’s lawyer, Ken Barker of Nashua, said he was notified by the state on Sept. 20, that the dog had died but was not provided with any other details.

According to Barker, Fay had rescued the dog from Europe, had never used her for breeding and had paid to have her spayed and to have a gastropexy procedure performed. Great Danes and other deep chested breeds of dog are prone to “bloat,” a life-threatening condition, in which their stomach flips over and expands trapping air and gases. Circulation to the stomach and spleen is cut off, resulting in shock, which can be fatal. To prevent it, some dog owners have a veterinarian, often laparoscopially, stitch the stomach to the abdominal wall.

Hamrick said the team caring for the dogs, which includes several licensed veterinarians, are aware of the risk of bloat and are on the lookout for its potential symptoms and using a feeding program designed to help prevent it.

While Barker said the death marks the third of his client’s dogs to die while in the care of the Humane Society, Hamrick said, he is missing a keen distinction.

Two puppies were euthanized on the recommendation of a veterinarian after they were determined to be suffering from untreatable medical conditions.

“There was a conscious decision made to euthanize them to prevent them from suffering after they had been diagnosed with an untreatable condition,” she said.

In this most recent case, Hamrick said, while caretakers were heartbroken at the adult dog’s death, they were grateful to have been with her and that she was in a clean, enriching environment and well-fed at the time.

Fay has asked that the state return the dog’s ashes to her. Barker and attorney James Cowles have asked a judge to remove Fay’s dogs from the care of the Humane Society and to allow her to rehome them pending trial.

The court previously approved an agreement allowing a licensed veterinarian or veterinary technician approved by the state to visit the dogs and to report observations about their welfare to Fay.

The defense said the negative publicity the case has sparked is making them unable to find someone willing to take on the job.

In a motion seeking to modify the agreement, Barker wrote that Humane Society’s “relentless advertising campaign has so frightened NH animal medicine community that no one will take on the task for fear of reprisal.”

A daylong hearing on multiple motions filed by the defense is scheduled to be held in the 3rd Circuit, District Division Ossipee Court on Oct. 3 at 10 a.m.

Animals Wolfeboro

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