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Derry woman's dogs to remain in custody of Humane Society - for now

Union Leader Correspondent

January 10. 2018 11:40PM

BRENTWOOD — A Derry woman fighting to get her two dogs returned after they were seized two years ago won’t be getting them back any time soon.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge Marguerite Wageling ruled this week that the Greater Derry Humane Society and others that were given custody of the dogs when they were taken from Kristina Gaines will be able to keep them pending further court action.

The dogs — Alice, a cocker spaniel mix, and Anzlo, a German shepherd — were seized on Oct. 16, 2015, and at the time Gaines was told that she would be responsible for the costs of caring for them, which now exceed $25,000, according to their lawyer, Patricia Morris.

The dogs were taken when Gaines was charged with animal cruelty and surrendered many other animals, but the charges weren’t related to the care of her dogs.

Charges against Gaines were eventually dropped after she was found incompetent to stand trial.

The Humane Society, All Four Paws Pet-Sitting, LLC of Derry, and Manchester resident Diane Lajoie, who have custody of the dogs, recently filed a petition in superior court seeking a temporary restraining order to keep the dogs permanently or to force Gaines to reimburse them for their care of the dogs. They raised questions about whether she can properly care for them.

Their petition was filed after a Derry Circuit Court judge ordered that the dogs be returned to Gaines.

Richard Samdperil, an attorney representing Gaines, has argued that she is capable of taking care of dogs, writing in court documents that, “Persons with a history of mental illness or an ongoing mental health issue can take proper care of dogs and other animals.”

Gaines maintains that the Humane Society and others should be found in contempt for failing to turn them over and says they can recoup their costs through civil action.

A status conference in the case is scheduled for Feb. 21.

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