All Sections

Home | Courts

Defense asks judge to invalidate search warrant in Great Dane cruelty case

Union Leader Correspondent

October 23. 2017 4:15PM
Christina Fay gets a pat on the back from her attorney, James Cowles of Wolfeboro, at her trial, which enters its fifth day Tuesday in the 3rd Circuit Court - District Division - Ossipee. (Bea Lewis/Union Leader Correspondent)

Humane Society workers load Great Danes seized following a search of Tina Fay's Wolfeboro mansion earlier this year. (Humane Society of America)

OSSIPEE — The legal team defending a Wolfeboro woman on trial for animal abuse is trying to derail the prosecution by arguing police unlawfully expanded the scope of the search by allowing the Humane Society of the United States to join in.

Christina Fay, 59, is facing 12 misdemeanor charges of animal abuse, alleging alternate theories of cruelty or "suffering of any kind" or being negligent in their care.

The defense asserts that the affidavit in support of the search warrant requested authority only for officer Michael Strauch and Wolfeboro police to search Fay's 149 Warren Sands Road home. The defense further contends that Strauch never asked for permission for the HSUS to take photographs or make video recordings of the dogs and the property.

The state, the defense argues, did not seek court permission to allow HSUS "to convert said photographs and videos into pro-HSUS propaganda, or used the same in any national campaigns."

"The HSUS clearly benefited from being at the search warrant execution, their presence was never authorized by the court, and allowing this unlawful procedure would set a very dangerous precedent," the defense motion reads.

Allowing the HSUS to participate, the defense argues, only served the private interests of the animal welfare group and not those of law enforcement and as a result the search warrant should be declared invalid.

Oral arguments are scheduled to be held before Judge Charles Greenhalgh in the 3rd Circuit Court District Division-Ossipee on Tuesday at 11 a.m.

Greenhalgh also will hear arguments by a lawyer representing two women who are fighting defense efforts to make them testify.

A Bartlett veterinarian and one of her assistants are asking a judge to invalidate the subpoenas compelling them to take the witness stand in the trial of one of their clients.

Attorney William Albrecht of Conway is representing Dr. Kate Battenfelder and Stephanie Maycomber. In court pleadings, Albrecht says his clients will invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent if called to testify.

Albrecht says his clients have a busy veterinary practice to run and were given less than a week's notice to appear in court on days surgeries and other appointments with clients are scheduled.

The subpoena orders the women to bring "any and all" information they have regarding the case. True North Veterinary Hospital records include examinations on some 80 dogs owned by Fay, but only a fraction of those are involved in the criminal charges, Albrecht asserts.

In the motion to quash, Albrecht cites an affidavit by lead investigator Strauch that states Dr. Battenfelder's examination of and issuance of health certificates for certain dogs later seized and examined by another veterinarian resulted in contradictory findings regarding the health of the animals.

Albercht said veterinary technician Maycomber assists Dr. Battenfelder in the examination of animals and documentation of their health. As such, if called to the stand she also will refuse to answer questions, he said.

Courts Crime Animals Ossipee Wolfeboro

More Headlines