Breaking news: Guilty verdict for New Hampshire breeder who kept Great Danes in deplorable conditions

By on December 12, 2017 with 42 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

After an extraordinary intervention by local law enforcement officials and HSUS personnel this summer to shut down a Great Dane commercial breeder operating out of a mansion in a summer resort community in New Hampshire, justice has been rendered. Today, a New Hampshire court convicted Christina Fay of 10 counts of animal cruelty. It was a long and contentious trial where the wealthy dog breeder claimed she provided outstanding care to dogs who were in obvious distress and varying states of illness.

The Honorable Judge Charles Greenhalgh handed down the convictions in a 20-page order that included detailed findings of fact supporting each of the 10 guilty verdicts. Judge Greenhalgh noted that a veterinarian experienced in investigating animal cruelty cases testified that “the conditions within the Defendant’s home [were] the worst she had ever seen.”

“The totality of evidence, including pictures, video and testimony from witnesses in or around Defendant’s home, between the beginning of May and June 16, 2017, consistently show the same conditions,” wrote Judge Greenhalgh. “These included an accumulation of feces and urine, which was not cleaned and built up over time to a point that made walking in the home difficult. In addition, there was a pervasive ammonia odor, so strong that veterinarians and others with experience working in kennels, and with large groups of animals, were unable to remain in the home without taking frequent breaks to get fresh air. The dogs were forced to live in filthy, unsanitary conditions. Some were lying for many days in their own feces and urine and it was covering their coats.”

[Read: Judge says New Hampshire Great Danes can be placed for adoption]

New Hampshire law states that upon a person’s conviction of cruelty, the court has discretion to determine the fate of the victimized animals. The court will determine the matter of disposition of the dogs and restitution at the sentencing hearing within 30 days.

The HSUS worked with law enforcement agencies, specifically the Wolfeboro Police Department, on the intervention to bring relief to the dogs, and has led the effort to care for the animals at an emergency animal shelter we constructed for their care. The costs, like the dogs, are enormous. Their size, their dietary and daily care needs, as well as their significant medical conditions, have already cost The HSUS more than a half-million dollars and counting. Dozens of the dogs had severe eye and skin infections as well as an array of other health problems. While our supporters have been generous, the dollars raised in the wake of the intervention have not come close to covering our costs for an operation of this scale.

The mansion where Fay lived with the dogs looked stately and opulent from the outside, but when our team entered the dwelling, they discovered something totally at odds with the elegant facade. They told me that the first thing that hit them was an overpowering rancid and putrid smell. There were feces and debris smeared across all the walls to the point where the windows were opaque. There were big dogs who had spent countless hours in cages. There was no sign of available water, just some remains of raw chicken parts strewn around the dogs.

In addition to caring for the dogs during the length of the trial, we have been focused on passing state legislation to reform commercial breeder regulations, strengthen penalties for egregious cruelty, and to address the enormous financial burden on taxpayers and non-profit organizations in caring for animals legally seized from cruelty investigations. New Hampshire Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, with bipartisan support from half of the state’s senators, has introduced legislation to address these issues. We have a powerful ally in Republican Gov. Chris Sununu who announced this summer that he’s planning to work “with advocates and legislators to pass common sense regulation that protects animals, ensuring that the type of situation that took place in Wolfeboro never happens again.”

We are immensely grateful to the Wolfeboro Police Department, the prosecutors who tried this case, the veterinary and animal care community in New Hampshire, and hundreds of volunteers, for providing essential help throughout this six-month process of dismantling the operation, caring for the dogs, and participating in the criminal trial. We also thank Halo Pets and for providing food and much-needed attention to this case. We look forward to working with lawmakers and other key decision-makers to remake the legal framework in New Hampshire and prevent any recurrence of this kind of cruelty and neglect.

Animal Rescue and Care, Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Melinda haar says:

    I know my donations do not come close to what you need to care for these sweet animals. Thank you for all you do and many thanks to all the volunteers who give their time and commitment for all animals.

  2. Chuck Gall says:

    Sell the property to defray the costs.

    • Annie says:

      Excellent idea.

    • Lorry Clark says:

      Super idea, Chuck Gallm even if I’m not sure it’s legal?
      Slime like this woman need to pay thru the nose for
      their cruelty – and why wouldn’t the Judge penalize
      HER holdings to pay for all this fantastic care, instead
      of putting the burden on us innocent animal lovers
      who want to help but can’t always…it’s HER problem!
      Happy as a Lark that these fuzzy babes are now in
      excellent care!

    • Marla Jo McRae says:

      Marla Jo McRae
      I totally agree! She needs to pay for EVERYTHING that is needed to care for the dogs!! She has the means to pay financially! She made her money from these poor dogs! Just jail is not enough!

    • Kristy says:

      Great idea!

    • J Olvey says:

      I agree, force the perpetrator of the cruelty to sell her mansion to repay the financial costs accrued by the HSUS.

  3. Rachel Kirkham says:

    How can we adopt one of the dogs?

    • Melissa says:

      Yes adopting them out is an excellent idea. This is why all the rescue agencies have to raise their fees. Cost of transport and bringing these sad pups up to the health they should attain is not cheap.
      Perhaps the woman in charge of the crime can pay the fees associated with feeding all the dogs for a min of one year .

    • Laura says:

      Have you heard any information about how someone can go about
      adopting one of these poor babies?

      • Cindy says:

        You’d probably have to get in touch with the Wolfeboro Police Department in New Hampsire to find out where they are and if they are ready to be adopted out

  4. Lisa Paglieroni-Jasalavich says:

    This woman needs to go to prison! People like her are only in it for the money they care nothing for the animals. How anyone can let an animal live in those conditions is beyond me. The judge needs to send her to prison for a long time, unfortunately those animal abuse cases don’t hold much time on them.

    • Annie says:

      Agreed. Or pay for the substantial costs involved in treating the dogs. Preferably both.

    • KM Kenyon says:

      HSUS and the Wolfeboro Police Department are all facing state and federal criminal charges—FELONY charges, for the wilful, malicious insane destruction of the Fay home interior, manufacturing false evidence over a 16 hour period of time, she was not allowed back to her house, while this bogus raid took place. They threw garbage all over, used huge buckets of gooey mud to be poured in the formerly pristine dog kennels, and interior rooms, and then claimed this is how she kept her dogs, on a regular basis. NOT!!! These criminals all deserve jail time and will pay huge fines for the worst malicious deliberate police misconduct in US history. Fay will have the last laugh, all the way to the bank. May they all rot in Hell.

  5. Kathy Thornton says:

    She should be punished to the fullest extent of the law as well as have to pay for any and all current and future medical expenses for all the animals rescued at her establishment.

  6. Cyndy Malko says:

    I was so appalled to read this article having dinner regionally from New Hampshire. As I read it I was sickened. The only thing that made me feel good is that the end I knew I did something because I donate to greater good. God bless the dogs.

  7. Cyndy Malko says:

    I was so appalled to read this article having been from New Hampshire. As I read it I was sickened. The only thing that made me feel good is that the end I knew I did something because I donate to greater good. God bless the dogs.

  8. Tami says:

    Sieze all property and bank accounts to pay for their care. She should be the one paying for them!

    • Candy says:

      Yes indeed! That’s exactly what should happen. Animals are like people, they hurt and feel and she just didn’t care. So why should we care about her.

  9. Ina day says:

    I would love to have one. Any details yet?

  10. Wilfredo cora says:

    I would love to adopt one of these dogs how do I get more information on them

  11. Nonya says:

    This “millionaire” should be forced to cover the costs involved with the care of these dogs. Afterall, it was all because of her. She should be imprisoned for life!

  12. Susan Rapp says:

    If this woman is so wealthy and this is a mansion, I suggest that she pay for these costs

  13. Corah says:

    This is wonderful news. My husband and I would love to give one of these Danes a loving home. How can we go about that?

  14. Ariana says:

    Do you know that Christina Fay adopted special needs children that nobody else wanted. So most of her life she spent being very selfless. It sounds to me she got over her head. From the research I did she was injured. I think it was more of a hoarding situation.

    I find it sad she has been charged criminally, and should of paid for the dogs to be healthy and adopted out, and ordered to be given counseling. You have turned someone that has a mental issue into a criminal. Not to mention, as the face of a animal abuser, to use to make money. That is what “rescue” is all about now a days, not the actual welfare of animals. It is about blame… It is about how evil anyone not a animal right activist is.

    I used to want to work for the ASPCA or HSUS during the the 1990s animal welfare was actually practiced. The ASPCA helped the poor in the community, and the goal with poor who were caregivers was to help them.

    I have seen a turn in animal rights that is very scary and sad. I think instead of helping animals it has turned into a hate for breeders, those who work with animals, and even if people are caregivers. If you are not a rescuer, do not rescue, or use your animal in entertainment or to profit, you are evil. If you own any type of a exotic pet your evil.

    HSUS she had not sold a dog in a while, and was more a hoarder. This happens to some rescues. So if rescues cannot properly care for their animals be criminally charged?

    The poor should be helped because that is often where pets are dumped. I myself, when I was very poor took in a homeless kitten, as a single mom living in proverty . The local shelter had a very good program which has since been eliminated.

    What makes me so angry is your goals. More money should be used for helping the spay and neutering programs, vet care, and transportation for those, such as the elderly that can no longer drive. You should be sponsoring vets to donate time in poor areas of the countries and areas in our own. You are so focused on breeders, you ignore rescues that are dirty. I found a pitbull rescue supplying pitbulls from California shelters to the South for dog fighting. Is that not important?

    Please start using more money to help shelters! The LA shelter system sucks! Why not work with shelters to redesign them, better ways of making people want to visit these places. Help rescuers to facilitate rescing to other states in need of the vast amount of animals coming from this area.

    I could honestly careless if large scale breeding programs are eliminated. Breeding should be done in a home environment on a small scale. The best pets I did not rescue came from situations like that. Stop focusing on breeders that are well known. Go after the large scale ones! A penny for every dollar for homeless animals is wrong. You should do better. Start doing better. Turn back the clock and actually help animals.

    • Natalie says:

      Your comments are misguided and uninformed. “Stop focusing on breeders that are well known”. Not even sure what that means. Have you seen a puppy mill? Don’t want to donate to the USHS? Don’t believe in their mission? That is fine. Don’t support them. There are millions of like minded people worldwide who do. Perhaps people have finally had enough of humans using and abusing animals for profit and entertainment. If you do not agree with this philosophy, that is your right, but don’t label those who care as radicals.

      “Mental issue” or not, what she has done is atrocious. Hiding behind good deeds of the past does not excuse current and future behavior. She absolutely SHOULD and HAS been criminally charged. All of the assets of her estate should be seized and funds given back to those who had to step in with their resources to help these poor animals and clean up HER mess. My guess is you have never lived with an animal that has lived in these conditions or you would not be so willing to be benevolent. Intentional or not, she basically tortured and scarred these animals for life. She deserves to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

      “I honestly careless if large breeding programs are eliminated”. How noble of you, but any size breeder can be cruel when all they are looking to do is turn a profit . Size does not matter.

      “Turn back the clock and actually help animals”. The last thing anyone who cares about animals wants to see happen is “turning back the clock”. This is just an ignorant statement.

    • Robynne Catheron says:

      Although I appreciate your compassion and frustration, I don’t think you realize exactly what the HSUS does. They’re already doing all the things you listed that they should be doing. Please check it out; I believe it will alleviate your disappointment. Their website is great, and they also have a magazine called “All Animals Matter.”

  15. Songul says:

    Thay need to sand her, and people like her to the jail.

    • Savannah Colledge says:

      I think she should go because it is animal abuse and it really means a lot to people that animals need to be safe

  16. Anne P. says:

    She is obviously mentally ill if she herself lived in that house. No sane person would be able to withstand living with feces smeared on the walls and the smell of ammonia, unless, of course, she lived in another part of the house. I’m happy the dogs have been rescued and are being cared for, now.

  17. Mike Bartlett says:

    I would love to adopt and give a great home to one of these guys! how do we find one?

  18. Deborah A Andalini says:

    I am sure jst abt evryon has hrd abt the CRUEL/INHUMANE Experiments prfrmd on (Labs and Goldens) for 35 + yrs now. (See video on line undr Texas A&M dog experiment Labs..) NO one is doing anythng to STOP this. I contctd PETA n Orgnztns rep Animals to STOP ABUSE. I hv cntctd people like Oprah, but NO Response.
    Now, I hv done thngs lk sign Petitions, peple cntcts, repstng Exp Videos. I even cntctd Txas Gov’s office. Theie respnc: I don’t knw abt ths Dog exp.
    Now, if there is anyone who has the Authority or knowldg of how to STOP ths, Please help me to help SAVE these INNOCENT Dogs.

    Deborah Andalini

  19. Deborah A Andalini says:

    Pls refr to the Texas A&M Experiment Labs. Mr. Bill Maher has also posted a video as well. If you hv any Knowledge or Authority on how these experiments (35+ years) to be shut down, please Help.


  20. Esther Bunny Brown says:

    I wonder if the New Hampshire mansion could ever be restored to its former glory.

  21. Mary :) says:

    I just came upon this comment page. I am inspired by the comments addressing the horrific nature of this woman’s selfish and inhumane actions!

    I would like to address Ariana’s post (12/12) attempting to excuse Fay’s actions due to “her mental illness: a hoarder”. I agree wholeheartedly that someone who hoards is dealing with a mental health disorder. However, Fay differs from them!

    A hoarder lives in the filth of their home WITH their animals and they never sell or rehome one because they truly believe they are providing them with the best life possible and believe no one else will care for them as well as they are. The extreme hoarding case will find the caretaker (hoarder) just as physically ill and uncared for as much as their animals. (You can find the factual definition in the DSM V Diagnosis manual.) Therefore, yes a “hoarder” does deserve mercy and compassion and support to manage their illness and help to keep themselves and animals safe and well cared for.


    Fay did not live in that hell hole with those innocent helpless animals! Fay DID IN FACT breed and sell them thereby profiting at THEIR expense and suffering! She is known in Maine as being an animal flipper! Once again, continuing to profit off the innocent, helpless voiceless victims in her grasp!

    I’ll not sleep tonight, Ariana, knowing she “took in homeless and unwanted children” in her past! Abusers want the weak and helpless. That is what Fay has gone for all along! God only knows what those children endured.

    Is she sick? I say: Yes, because I cant believe someone in their right mind could do what she’s done! But people who are driven by money and greed will do anything! Is she an abuser? I say: Yes. She should never be allowed to own or care for ANY LIVING THING! And if the system can order such: I support the selling of her estate and all proceeds go to the entities who saved these innocent dogs! I also would like to see an Animal Abuser Registry much like a Pedophile Registry, that gets shared nationwide!

    I’ll close with this: “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” I tell myself this every time I report to my local shelter to walk the homeless dogs we take in. Every time I say yes to my local rescues to foster yet another dog (already having 5 of my own.) Every time I read and rescue dogs off Craigslist, getting them the care they need and scrutinizing a potential adopter to be sure it will be their FOREVER home or else be returned to ME. Every time I read a “need help” post and then do EVERYTHING in my power to HELP! Every time I look at my dwindling resources and yet find a way to make another financial contribution to support the work of rescuing!

    So, ask yourself Ariana , and others who might have thought like her before now: “Are YOU part of the solution or are you part of the Problem.” Its clear what Fay’s position is!

    Thank you TO ALL who speak up for the helpless. May we continue to be their voice!

    • BC says:

      Thank you so much for your comments. It is clearly the voice of compassion. I agree.with you totally. I worked with a woman in Washington State who she and her family rescued Bulldogs. Many of them from puppy mills and all with deformities and spina bifida, a result of Perpetual inbreeding. Anybody who sees these precious babies and doesn’t recognize the harm that comes from this type of breeding, lack of compassion and caring is part of the problem.

  22. Rachael Walrath says:

    The penalty for anybody convicted of animal abuse should be paying for all the medical treatment required to save the animals. They should have to pay as well as jail time.

  23. Havana says:

    Thank God there are millions of people who donate to this great and wonderful cause. I am one of them and hopefully one day I could donate a lot more to these poor defenseless animals that are abused and mistreated by humans without feelings or conscience if we can call them “humans”. Please lets keep helping and STOP all the abuse!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Kate says:

    What was her sentence?

  25. Kate says:

    They should be able to see is her house under asset forfeiture where a crime has been committed. Many local and state agencies finance their operations through the sale of confiscated items.

  26. Beverly Tyson says:

    We ALL have to continuously Stick to gather is a group to constantly never let up on fighting the fight. It is up to us individually to make sure to call congressman senators, etc. to get better laws passed to protect these animals. We are there only voice!

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