WASHINGTON — Christina Fay, who is appealing 17 animal cruelty convictions in New Hampshire’s State Supreme Court, is now suing The Humane Society of the United States and the town of Wolfeboro for more than $35 million in federal court.
Fay, 62, was convicted in March of 2018 for neglecting about 75 Great Danes that she kept on the property of her $1.5 million Wolfeboro mansion. Most of the charges involved failing to provide care to specific dogs which suffered from various ailments like papiloma infections. Police, assisted by HSUS, raided her property in 2017. Another nine dogs were taken from a veterinarian’s office.
Fay was sentenced to a year in jail and required to pay $1.9 million for the upkeep of the dogs during the months leading up to her trial. Her sentence was suspended, but she still appealed the verdict to the state Supreme Court. That appeal was heard in February, and the case is still pending.
Last month, Fay filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, seeking $35 million for personal injury. However, the case was moved in mid-July to District Court there.
According to her attorney, Paul Zukerberg of Zuckerberg & Halperin PLLC of Washington, D.C., in 2017 Fay moved from Maine to Wolfeboro with 50 Great Danes and three assistants. Months later, Fay hurt her knee and had problems keeping enough staff to help her maintain the dogs, by then 75 adults and nine puppies.
Zuckerberg claims the HSUS opposes breeders of pedigree dogs.
“HSUS has a pattern throughout the United States of forming conspiracies for the purpose of raiding citizens’ homes, acting as if they have police powers, falsely claiming that animals are being abused, confiscating the owners’ dogs and/or other domesticated animals and of disposing the animals as they see fit,” said Zuckerberg.
“HSUS then uses social and print media, seminars, lectures, pamphlets and other venues to ...
promote their ideology and to raise money to perpetrate their organization.”
The lawsuit says that on the day of the raid, HSUS agents “trespassed” and prevented the dogs from going outside to relieve themselves.
“Photographs and videotapes were taken of the mess and distributed to the media with HSUS dialogue,” said Zuckerberg. “HSUS claimed that there was dog feces everywhere, most of which when later tested proved to be mud.”
Zuckerberg alleges that the HSUS “embellished” photos of the scene and even claims that the HSUS “stole” jewelry. The lawsuit says the police and HSUS “failed” to secure her home which subjected it to “further” looting.
Named as defendants are the HSUS, which is based in Washington, D.C.; the HSUS’ attorney, Leana Eliaine Storming; and the town of Wolfeboro.
An attorney representing the town, Katherine Yoder of Bonner Kieranan Trebach & Crociata, had the case moved to the District Court of Washington because “this action arises under the laws of the United States, the amount in the controversy exceeds $75,000 and because this action is between citizens of different states.”
Yoder’s notice says Stormont lives in Washington, where the HSUS is based, and that Fay moved back to Maine.
Zuckerberg’s lawsuit says Fay’s rights to due process and equal protection were violated; that the defendants were involved in a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) conspiracy; and under common law committed theft, slander and caused her emotional harm.
The proposed $35 million in damages is broken down this way: $999,000 for the “illegal” taking 84 Great Danes, $8,000,000 for the “loss of stud and breeding income,” $1 million for lost value of her Wolfeboro home; $750,000 for damage to her home, $142,000 to pay a bond to prevent the dogs from being euthanized, $350,000 for alleged “theft and destruction of her belongings,” about $400,000 for various attorney fees.
The lawsuit says she seeks $11,644,000 in compensatory damages, $15,000,000 for the “permanent loss of the love and affection of her dogs and for the intentional, negligent and permanent infliction of emotional harm, she seeks $10,000,000 for violations of federal law. She seeks damages from all the defendants.