Seizure of 84 dogs from feces-filled mansion prompts NH animal treatment commission revamp
WOLFEBORO — Three puppies stole the show Thursday as the governor, police and the Humane Society of the United States called for tougher animal cruelty laws after the seizure of 84 Great Danes from a feces-filled mansion.
"This case really highlighted gaps in the way that New Hampshire handles animal cruelty," said Lindsay Hamrick, state director of the HSUS.
Christina Fay, who was arrested in June, did not qualify as a breeder under current laws. She is currently facing two counts of animal cruelty but more charges could be forthcoming. Fay has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Current laws in New Hampshire require breeders that sell 10 litters or 50 puppies in one year to be licensed through the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture. At the conference, officials said there needs to be an update of the state’s commercial breeder regulations. State Sen. Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, plans to introduce legislation in the 2018 session to redefine who qualifies as a commercial breeder.
Gov. Chris Sununu also signed an executive order to revamp the Governor's Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals to address laws and the costs associated with animal cruelty cases.
"Animal Cruelty will not be tolerated in New Hampshire. I am proud to revamp the Governor’s Commission on the Humane Treatment of Animals, making it easier for the Commission to recruit members, as well as expanding their duties to include tracking and promoting current legislation, which will allow them a voice in the legislative process," Sununu said. "I look forward to working with the commission, advocates and legislators to pass commonsense legislation that protects animals, ensuring that the type of situation that took place in Wolfeboro never happens again.”
The cost of care for the Great Danes seized from Fay is estimated at $500,000 if the case is wrapped up by Oct. 25 as scheduled. If it drags on for months or even years, as Hamrick has warned could be possible, it could be over a million dollars.
“The rescue of 84 Great Danes from a suspected puppy mill in Wolfeboro highlights the gaps in New Hampshire’s animal cruelty laws and we’re thrilled that Gov. Sununu supports commonsense reforms to prevent such cruelties from happening again," Hamrick said. "Addressing animal cruelty is a bipartisan issue, and we look forward to working with Sen. Bradley and all legislators in 2018 to pass these important policies.”
At the conference, HSUS released more photos and brought some of the dogs, who have been placed at an undisclosed location while they await the October trial.
Officials said the number of dogs has grown to 93 as several of them were pregnant. The puppies at the conference became a little restless, barking, whining and fidgeting at times. Sununu started out the conference by petting one black Great Dane that remained at the table where he signed the executive orders during the announcement.
Fay's lawyer, Kent Barker, of Nashua, filed a motion last week saying that Fay wants 75 of the Great Danes transferred to different caretakers recommended by her.
In court documents, Barker said that surgeries performed by the State may have been unnecessary, and maintains that the dogs are still Fay's property.
A hearing for that motion has been scheduled for Aug. 30 at 1 p.m. in Carroll County Superior Court.
Those looking to help animals rescued by The HSUS' Animal Rescue Team can make a donation.