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Great Danes to stay put until owner faces cruelty trial, judge rules

Union Leader Correspondent

October 10. 2017 4:26PM
Christina Fay, 59, formerly of Wolfeboro, prepares to testify as her attorney, Kent Barker of Nashua, swears her in Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

WOLFEBORO – Seventy-four Great Danes seized from a Wolfeboro home will remain in the custody of the Humane Society of the United States until the owner is tried on animal cruelty charges a judge has ruled.

Christina Fay, 59, formerly of Wolfeboro, is charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

“The description of the conditions of Fay’s home couldn’t be more different. Fay describes a sanitary, orderly environment in which the dogs are cared for on a strict schedule and receive appropriate medical care. The state described filthy conditions, with unhealthy dogs being fed rancid meat, not receiving water and lacking medical care. Determination of the actual facts is left for the trial in this matter,” wrote Judge Charles Greenhalgh in an eight-page order dated Oct. 6.

“As the intent of RSA 644:8 is to insure the safety and proper care of the animals seized, the risk of returning them is simply too great,” the judge ruled in denying Fay’s request that 31 of the dogs be distributed to friends and the remainder be returned to her.

In making his decision the judge cited the court and the state’s obligation to consider appropriate disposition of the dogs in the event Fay is convicted. State law empowers the court to take ownership of animals when people are convicted of cruelty and to place them in new homes.

If the defense request was granted, Greenhalgh said, the dogs would have to be transported yet again and perhaps even confiscated again if Fay is convicted, creating an unnecessary burden and logistical nightmare for the court and the prosecution.

The judge also denied a defense request for a bill of particulars instead finding that the criminal complaints contain sufficient details of the alleged crimes to allow the defendant to prepare for trial.

Greenhalgh also held that there was sufficient probable cause to issue the search warrant that led to the June 16 seizure of the dogs from Fay’s 149 Warren Sands Road mansion.

“The fact that a witness may have had incomplete or limited knowledge doesn’t create a lack of probable cause, as the totality of all the information presented established that probable cause did exist,” Greenhalgh ruling reads.

“The fact that the state did not seek to confirm or dispel the accounts of witnesses by speaking with Fay, herself, does not establish a lack of probable cause,” Greenhalgh concluded.

Fay is scheduled to stand trial in the 3rd Circuit, District Division Ossipee Court on Oct. 16.

Courts Crime Animals Ossipee Wolfeboro

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