Testimony wraps up in Great Danes animal cruelty caseBy JOHN KOZIOL
Union Leader Correspondent
November 14. 2017 9:35PM
OSSIPEE — Testimony in the animal cruelty trial of Christina Fay ended Tuesday with the defendant taking the stand and telling Judge Charles Greenhalgh that she considered European Great Danes to be the “Van Goghs and Rembrandts” of the canine world.
To allow the defense and state to deliver their closing arguments, Greenhalgh kept Courtroom 2 at the Ossipee District Court open until almost 6 p.m., two hours past the normal closing time, and then took the case under advisement, saying he hoped to issue an order soon.
Fay, 59, faces 11 misdemeanor charges for allegedly mistreating 75 Great Danes at her home on Warren Sands Road in Wolfeboro.
On June 16, after receiving complaints from two of Fay’s former employees about what prosecutor’s described as the “deplorable conditions the dogs were living in, Wolfeboro police — joined by agents from the Humane Society of the United States — searched Fay’s residence and seized the dogs.
Represented by attorneys Kent Barker and James Cowles, Fay sought to get the dogs — four of which have died in the custody of the USHS — back.
Under direct examination by Barker, Fay told the court that she is fortunate to be able to “indulge” a long-standing affinity for European Great Danes, which she said are larger than their counterparts in the United States, but also come with a variety of medical challenges that are common to the breed.
“They’re almost a different breed,” she said, adding that to her, “they’re like 180-pound black labs in disguise.”
She and Barker introduced evidence that they said showed Fay was a loving, conscientious and responsible dog owner, and Barker summed up that the state simply had not proven its allegations.
“The dogs are the real witnesses here,” Barker said, noting that their general good health is a testament to the quality care they got from Fay.
Prosecutor Simon Brown said there was no doubt that Fay loved her dogs, but love, he added, “should also mean restraint,” pointing out that since coming to Wolfeboro from Maine in 2015, Fay had added 30 more dogs to her household.
The new dogs kept coming in 2017, he said, even though Fay testified she had lost some of her employees and was forced to take on more responsibilities even as she herself tried to work through the pain of an injured knee and a surgical replacement for it that she kept delaying.