NH Vet on Fay's Great Danes: 'Worst Case of Animal Cruelty I've Seen in 17 Years'
Photo caption: A male Great Dane the state says according to medical records was brought to the vet several times for semen samples for reproductive purposes.
Day 4 of the Christina Fay trial started with a witness for the defense.
Dr. Samantha Moffitt, a veterinarian from Virginia, needed to return to her home state so she testified on behalf of Fay on Friday morning, despite several witnesses for the state still expected to take the stand.
Christina Fay is facing 12 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty after 75 dogs were seized from her Wolfeboro mansion in June.
Moffitt works at an emergency veterinarian clinic in Fredericksburg, Virginia. According to her employers' website, she obtained her veterinary degree from Ross University on the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies.
Moffitt had no connection to the case before agreeing to look at the medical records of the dogs on behalf of the defense. She then visited the dogs for the first time early this month, and conducted a full exam on five dogs Thursday.
Attorney Kent Baker with his witness, Dr. Samantha Moffitt on the stand.
She testified she was paid $2,500 from Fay for examining the dogs Thursday and testifying Friday. But assured defense attorney Kent Barker, her testimony would be truthful.
Moffitt told the court several times she did read the media reports from the seizure and subsequent days. She said she never trusts the internet and spoke about "incorrect information in the media".
She says media reports were inconsistent with what she was reading in the veterinary notes, calling Fay's treatment of the dogs "way above adequate care" and later saying Fay went "above and beyond."
She discussed many preventative care measures Fay had ordered through Dr. Kate Battenfelder. (Whether Battenfelder can take the stand will be discussed Tuesday at a hearing. She could plead the fifth if she was in jeopardy of incriminating herself).
Some of those pages of documents, as prosecuting attorney Simon Brown pointed out during cross-examination, are not preventative care measures. He mentioned one male dog in a time period of 17 months had 20 visits with Battenfelder, 14 of those visits were for semen deposits.
Moffitt testified on many of the ailments and conditions defending Fay's treatment or lack there of, offering explanations for each. She dismissed papilloma virus as being benign,"not a serious condition in general" she said. The condition of cherry eye could return after it was already treated and happy tail was exactly that, a symptom of happy dogs.
Many of the witnesses so far for the state who were at Fay's home on the day of seizure commented on the high levels of ammonia, which they testified caused their eyes to water and forced them to take breaks.
Moffitt challenged the testimony of these witnesses, although not there on the day of seizure. She asked if the ammonia levels were so high, why weren't they wearing masks in the photos taken as evidence that day. She called the testimony of several witnesses with the same experience of the burning ammonia as the "domino effect." She said that means one person says "that smells bad" and others then agreed.
She also discusses the condition of the house and believes that amount of feces and urine could be caused by the dogs not being let out for 12-14 hours during the day of seizure.
Dr. Sarah Proctor on the stand for the state. She was one of the veterinarians who were onsite during the seizure of the 75 Great Danes.
Later Friday, the trial switched back to the state's witnesses including Dr. Sarah Proctor, a veterinarian who was at the home on the day of seizure.
"It was the worst case of animal cruelty I've seen in 17 years as a veterinarian."
Kent Barker cross-examined Proctor for the defense, asking if the layer of feces and urine on the floors of the home could have been caused by the house not being cleaned the day of seizure. Proctor replied no saying that the amount of feces on the floors would take days or weeks to get that bad. She also described the yellowing of many of the dogs' coats saying it came from many days and weeks of build up.
Forensic Veterinarian, Jerilee Zezula was the last to testify for the defense Friday. She took the stand as an expert witness for the prosecution, having not treated the dogs or visited the home during the seizure. She called the massive binder of vet visits provided by the defense as "a little bit deceptive" because many of the visits were for reproductive purposes — semen collections, checking female dogs' heat cycles, cesarean sections, and whelping checks.
She also testified, based on the vet's notes supplied from the defense, that one of the dogs was diagnosed with cherry eye at just 9-weeks old but was not treated for several weeks, when the dog was blind.
Defense attorney Barker shot back on cross-examination saying Zezula was not at the seizure of the dogs June 16 and that she was only going off reports supplied from the police and the Humane Society of the United States. He continued by saying if their information was wrong than her assessment is wrong.
The trial, originally expected to last four days, is now expected to go into next week. The defense has a list of witnesses who have not yet testified, and the state has two more witnesses who are expected to testify. The trial will resume Tuesday.