After Two Week Trial, Fate of Great Dane Breeder in Jury's Hands

Mar 9, 2018

Christina Fay holds a dog chew toy while listening to closing arguments on Friday.
Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

Closing arguments wrapped up Friday in the case of a Wolfeboro, New Hampshire dog breeder facing 17 counts of animal cruelty.

Christina Fay was found guilty in a lower court last year and sentenced to roughly $800,000 in fines and the forfeiture of all but one of her 75 Great Danes. The dogs were removed from her home during a raid last June, and remain in the care of the Humane Society.

[You can read NHPR's previous coverage of this story here.]

During her appeal in Carroll County Superior Court, jurors heard two weeks of testimony from law enforcement and veterinarians, as well as from Fay.

While addressing the jury during closing statements, Fay’s attorney Kent Barker described Fay as the “most responsible pet owner that I’ve ever seen,” lifting up three large binders full of veterinary records. Fay says she spent tens of thousands of dollars each month on medical care for the dogs, as well as a raw meat diet.

Jurors toured Fay’s 13,000 square foot home during the proceedings, including the basement where the state argues some of Fay’s dogs were denied adequate light and ventilation. Prosecutors allege that many of the dogs were in need of immediate medical care upon being seized, a result of living in squalid conditions.

“The defendant continued to take in dogs despite knowing she had too many,” said Assistant Carroll County Attorney Steven Briden.

Briden told jurors the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that many of the dogs were deprived necessary care, pointing to eye and skin conditions, as well as the high levels of ammonia in the home.

The case of Christina Fay has attracted international media attention, and has prompted state lawmakers to begin work on stricter commercial breeding regulations.

Fay clutched a dog’s chew toy while listening to closing statements. She faces jail time, fines and the forfeiture of her dogs.