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Woman at center of Great Dane cruelty case cited for misuse of registration plates

Union Leader Correspondent

May 15. 2018 8:55PM
Christina Fay's 2015 Cadillac Escalade was stripped of its license plates by Ossipee police after they determined that plates that were on it belonged to another vehicle and had expired. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

OSSIPEE — The former Wolfeboro woman facing a 30-day jail sentence after being convicted of animal cruelty for neglecting her Great Dane dogs has now run afoul of the state’s motor vehicle laws.

Ossipee police cited Christina Fay, 60, of Nashua, with misuse of plates and issued her a warning for driving an unregistered vehicle with an expired registration, after she left the Carroll County Courthouse following her sentencing hearing on Friday.

“I can’t make this stuff up. I’m not that clever,” said Wolfeboro Chief of Police Dean Rondeau.

Ossipee police Sgt. Robert King confirmed his department seized the plates from Fay’s 2015 black Cadillac Escalade and advised her that in order to avoid having it towed she must register it. The expired registration sticker was spotted by a Wolfeboro officer attending the hearing who then notified the Ossipee department. When an Ossipee officer ran a license check he determined the plates belonging to another vehicle, and that the registration had lapsed.

According to King, Fay was in the company of at least one of her five defense attorneys when the citation was issued and that the lawyer tried to advocate on her behalf. No explanation was offered as to why plates from another vehicle were on Fay’s SUV.

“I want everyone to realize you can’t drive an unregistered vehicle on the (public) ways of the state with the expired plates from another car on it, and that if you do it’s not going to end well,” Rondeau said.

A conviction for misuse of plates is punishable by a fine of $186. A motorist found guilty of driving an unregistered vehicle can be fined $124.

On May 11, Judge Amy Ignatius said she would be open to modifying Fay’s sentence in the dog cruelty case if the defense proposed a counseling program that the court found acceptable.

“There is no guarantee. It depends upon what it proposed,” Ignatius cautioned.

Commenting on why the sentence was harsher than one imposed by a lower court, Ignatius said, she rejected the defense that a series of events combined to create the conditions discovered inside Fay’s home.

“I find it just unacceptable. The dogs were in deteriorating conditions in that household with no effort to deal with it at the time,” she said.

The judge said she was also troubled by the litany of other people Fay assigned blame to and her lack of any acceptance that she may have been at fault.

Ignatius initially handed down a 12-month jail sentence, with all but 90 days suspended.

On the remaining 16 counts of animal cruelty, the judge imposed identical one-year sentences, which will all remain suspended on the condition of good behavior for five years. Fay was additionally restricted to owning just one spayed or neutered dog for the next five years.

Because the sentencing hearing used up all of the two hours scheduled, the judge was unable to address the state’s emergency motion seeking to euthanize one of the dogs that attacked and severely injured a handler as she walked it.

“I don’t think the dog can ever be re-homed because of the attack,” Prosecutor Steven Briden told the judge. The dog can no longer receive personal human contact and can’t be taken outside as a result of the incident.

“We like to have a humane standard of care and it is not a happy or healthy way for that dog to be held,” he said.

Fay will return to court on June 14 for her final sentencing and for a further hearing to decide the fate of the dogs that remain in the custody of the Humane Society of the United States and the amount of restitution Fay may be ordered to pay. The animal welfare group says it has spent $1.8 million caring for the dogs.

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