Teen in NH Animal Cruelty Case: Owner Ate in Kitchen Where Counters 'Oozed' with Raw Chicken
Photo caption - Christina Fay with Attorney James Cowles in District Court in Ossipee, NH on Monday, October 16, 2017.
OSSIPEE — During the first day of testimony at a trial for a woman accused of mistreating more than 70 Great Danes, multiple witnesses described floors and walls covered in feces and urine.
The four-day trial for Christina Fay, the Great Dane breeder from Wolfeboro, who’s dogs were removed in June amid complaints of the animals living in a urine and feces filled mansion started Monday.
Fay is facing 12 counts of animal cruelty for allegedly keeping more than 80 Great Danes at her home in unsanitary conditions.
A.R., a now 17-year-old girl who worked for Fay testified first. She said she was hired by Fay because she knew Fay’s employee Julia Smith. A.R. said she only worked one day for Fay as a kennel assistant.
A.R. testified she went to Fay’s very large and "ostentatious" home May 2.
She said upon entering the garage overwhelming smell of feces and urine greeted her.
She testified in the garage, there were old boxes that had contained chicken and were now covered in maggots. Approximately 5 feet from the dozens of trash bags were seven kennels that housed seven Great Danes.
A.R. said she picked up one of the garbage bags and Smith said she didn’t like the bag because it contained a dead puppy. The defense objected to this comment, claiming hearsay but Judge Charles Greenhalgh allowed it.
A.R. said when she entered the home all the floors were covered in feces and urine. A.R. compared it was the slickness of an ice skating rink. She described the counter tops as oozing with raw chicken parts; chicken juice was falling on the floor which was already covered in feces and urine.
It was in this kitchen, she first met Christina Fay. A.R. said Fay was eating something when she first met her. Also in the kitchen A.R. estimated there were about 25 Great Danes, many falling in their own excrement because it was so slippery. She said she witnessed at least one of the dogs urinating and defecating on the floor and Fay did not seem to be bothered by this.
A.R. said she was told the dogs were only given water when they were outside once a day. She testified Smith told her they had to let the dogs out of the basement to drink water outside because they had not been let out the day before.
The dogs were fed raw chicken by holding the meat over the kennel and the dogs would jump and get it, A.R. testified. Sometimes, she observed the meat would fall landing in the urine and feces ridden kennels.
She said while she was at the home, she was told to clean a stainless steel refrigerator. She opened the door and maggots poured out of the fridge.
At lunchtime, A.R. said she was told she could eat in the kitchen with Fay, Smith, Marilyn Kelly and Fay’s son. She instead opted to eat her lunch in the car.
A.R. was brought upstairs to Fay’s bedroom where she was told Fay’s favorite (Great Danes) were kept. A.R. described the situation as similar to downstairs. She said urine and feces covered the floor and also could be seen on the bed where Fay presumably slept.
Upon cross examination, Attorney James Cowles asked A.R. if she had ever heard of a “raw food diet”. A.R. replied no. Attorney Cowles asked A.R. questions about the condition of the floor, commenting that if the floor had old feces and urine, it would not be slick, it would have been sticky instead.
The second witness the state called Monday was Marilyn Kelly, who had worked for Christina Fay for approximately five weeks. Kelly, a vet-tech for the past 2½ decades, told the state she learned of the job opportunity from Indeed.com. In addition to $100/day pay, Kelly was given on-site housing in an apartment the dogs did not occupy.
Kelly described the home as having feces covering the floors and up to her waist on the walls. She said it was hard to breathe.
She corroborated the dogs were only given water outside once a day. She estimated the dogs were allowed outside for 15-30 minutes Monday through Friday. She said Fay had no help on the weekends to bring the dogs outside. She said a couple of the dogs learned to turn on the faucet in the kitchen to get water.
Kelly said she observed one of the dogs had puncture wounds after being outside. She testified that Fay stapled the wounds shut.
Kelly said she eventually convinced Fay to surrender nine of the dogs, which Kelly brought to the Conway Area Humane Society where she worked. The dogs were adopted to families.
Upon cross examination, defense attorney James Cowles brought up the issue of the dogs surrendered to the Conway Area Humane Society. Cowles said Kelly lied to Fay when she said she would rehome the dogs, but Kelly said she tried, but the dogs had too many medical issues and needed to see a veterinarian, a cost she couldn’t absorb.
The last witness for the state Monday was Officer Michael Strauch, a 10-year-veteran with the Wolfeboro Police Department and the canine handler. He was the arresting officer in the case. He said when he arrived June 16, the day of the seizure, the first thing Fay said to him was, “Please don’t take my dogs.”
He testified that Fay apologized several times and observed she had feces on her pants and shirt.
Upon entering the home through the master bedroom, Strauch echoed A.R.'s testimony. Fay’s bedroom was completely covered in feces, even on the bed, he said.
Strauch testified the home had looked like it was “burglarized” it was in such disarray. He said he had a hard time walking and almost fell several times.
Off the master bedroom, Strauch observed there was three marked “whelping rooms” in the bathroom, essentially nurseries for puppies. Strauch testified he observed heat lamps and baby monitors set up in these rooms, as well as medication used for inducing dogs for labor, i.v. bags, a stethoscope, journals that documented puppy feeding times, heat cycles of dogs and the dogs which had been artificially inseminated.
Strauch was the last witness of the day.
The trial is scheduled to continue Wednesday at 10 a.m. with Strauch's cross examination.