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Christina Fay sentenced to 90 days in jail; decision on Great Danes postponed

Union Leader Correspondent

May 12. 2018 3:52AM

Christina Fay was allowed by a judge on Friday to own just one spayed or neutered dog for the rest of her life. (File/Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

The Humane Society of the United States worked with the Wolfeboro Police Dept. to rescue approximately 70 Great Danes from Christina Fay. (File)

OSSIPEE — The woman convicted of 17 counts of animal cruelty for the negligent treatment of dozens of Great Dane dogs was sentenced to 90 days in jail but could serve as little as 30 days if the defendant agrees to participate in a counseling program approved by the judge.

As part of her sentence, Christina Fay, 60, will be allowed to own just one spayed or neutered dog for the next five years.

In spite of a two-hour sentencing hearing, the issue of the amount of restitution, if any, Fay should be required to pay, remains unsettled as does the fate of the 75 dogs that remain in the care and custody of the Humane Society of the United States.

Because of those outstanding issues, the sentence is not legally considered complete and as a result Fay will remain free until they are decided. Another hearing has been set for June 14 at 1 p.m.

The prosecution had asked the court to order Fay to pay the Humane Society of the United States more than $1.8 million, the costs they have incurred to date in caring for and treating the dogs that were initially taken from her home last June.

The newest member of the defense team, Marshall Pinkus of Iowa, argued that the Humane Society was not a victim but a volunteer and as such should not be entitled to any restitution.

Judge Amy Ignatius repeatedly reminded Pinkus that the hearing was for the purpose of sentencing as he continued to revisit evidence in the case, prompting the judge to say at least twice that she remembered things differently.

The judge rejected the state’s request that Fay be ordered to provide a copy of her sentence that details the restriction on animal ownership to any municipality where she resides. She also declined to impose a $34,000 fine.

The defense team had argued for no jail time and no restitution.

As to the fate of the dogs, Ignatius gave the parties additional time to negotiate a plan to put them in new homes.

Prosecutor Steve Briden told the judge repeated efforts had come to naught and asked that the parties submit written briefs on the issue and the court decide.

The judge said she was in favor of finding new homes for the dogs but was opposed to giving Fay the authority to make the decision on who could adopt them. If the parties can’t broker an agreement, she said the court has the authority to forfeit the dogs to the state but indicated such action would be a last resort.

Ignatius granted Briden’s request to issue a gag order to prevent communications concerning negotiations over the dogs from being made public, after he recounted that documents that previously had only been shared between the defendant, the state and the defense had ended up online as part of blog posts.

Fay declined comment as she left the courthouse. When she approached her black Cadillac SUV in the parking lot, a Wolfeboro police officer advised she was being cited for misuse of plates. Her license plates were seized, and police ordered the vehicle towed.

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