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Christina Fay talks with attorney Jeremy Cohenduring her 2018 trial. (DAYMOND STEER PHOTO)

WASHINGTON — The town of Wolfeboro is asking a federal judge to dismiss a $35 million lawsuit filed against it and the Humane Society of the United States by Christina Fay who is appealing over a dozen animal cruelty convictions.

Meanwhile, the HSUS has issued a statement in response to Fay’s claims as reported by the Sun.

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.”

HSUS Senior Director of Media Relations Anna West in an email Friday addressed some of the claims in the lawsuit which the Sun reported Friday.

“While the HSUS is dedicated to stopping puppy mills, which are essentially factory farms for dogs, and opposes any breeding operation in which dogs are forced to suffer in poor conditions, we absolutely do not oppose all breeders,” said West. “We even provide recommendations for people who want to purchase a dog on how to find a responsible breeder.”

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.

West denied accusations that the HSUS doctored photos, stole items or that the HSUS was responsible for securing the home.

“We take the evidentiary process very seriously; what’s more, we have an explicit photo ethics policy that forbids any such alterations,” said West. “Law enforcement collected evidence, including samples of the filth collected from various parts of the house where Fay kept the dogs. Those samples revealed feces contaminated with giardia, a parasite that sickens both dogs and humans. Both a jury and a judge found this evidence credible and ultimately convicted Ms. Fay of animal cruelty.”

West said the HSUS agents took “nothing from the home except the dogs and the collars they were wearing at the time they were removed from the property.”  West also said standard operating procedure is for police to secure a property after a search warrant is executed.

Through its attorney, Katherine Yoder of Bonner Kiernan Trebach & Crociata, the town of Wolfeboro filed a motion Friday asking Judge  Royce Lamberth of the United States District Court District of Columbia to dismiss the case or have it moved to United States District Court District of New Hampshire. The motion and supporting affidavits  says that the D.C. court shouldn’t have jurisdiction over the case.

“Thus, the only facts in support of Plaintiff’s assertion that the Court has personal jurisdiction over Wolfeboro are the following: (1) Wolfeboro entered a single Agreement with an entity that has a ‘main office’ in Washington, D.C.; (2) the Agreement is governed and construed under District of Columbia law. Wolfeboro was ‘an agent’ of, and/or conspired with HSUS with respect to the removal of the Plaintiff’s Great Danes,” said Yoder. “Plaintiff alleges it was HSUS, not Wolfeboro, that ‘planned and directed’ the wrongful acts, and that HSUS did so from Washington, D.C. Virtually every other fact set forth in the Plaintiff’s Complaint takes place in New Hampshire.”

“The Agreement was executed in New Hampshire on June 16, 2017 ... The Animal Rescue Operation that is the subject of the Agreement took place in New Hampshire ... The Agreement is insufficient to establish personal jurisdiction over Wolfeboro.”

Yoder also argues that it would be “difficult and expensive” for Wolfeboro to have town employees testify in D.C. Yoder had the case moved from the D.C. Superior Court to the federal court in D.C.

Named as defendants are the HSUS, which is based in Washington, D.C.; the HSUS’ attorney, Leana Eliaine Storming; and the town of Wolfeboro.

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.

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(4) comments

Kerri

I hope she gets every cent! This is happening everywhere! None of us are safe from being a target!

Kerri

Hope she wins! It's a constant battle. Animal right activists teamed up with law enforcement...same ole song and dance . sad deal!

Tragopan

The case of Tina Fay is not unusual. The tactics used to remove her dogs have been used across the US by many local humane societies in concert with local police and sometimes even in collusion with local judges. I am reminded of two cases, one in the Houston area and one in Florida, where these same tactics were used. Sometimes it is one old dog that becomes the reason to take all the animals. Sometimes it is one plucked parrot. It doesn't matter that the old dog is kept because the owner loves it and provides good care, it is just that the dog is old and looks pitiful! Or in the case of the bird, that the bird was a gift to the bird owner and not a bird they raised or treated badly. Then the other part of the process is that massive charges are forced on the animal owner for the "care" of the removed animals, even though that care is so wretched that some animals die due to serious lack of appropriate care. This Theft Under Color of Law, as it has been labeled, has taken place in regard to show rabbits, show dogs, horses, show birds, and even farm animals. There appears to be two reasons for these "takings" of animals. One is to gain income thru charges and also donations. The other is to harm animal owners, which of course is the stated goal of the animal rights organizations, such as HSUS and PETA and ASPCA. This is not news to most professionals who are animal owners. It doesn't matter if they are following accepted care requirements if they are targeted, like the woman who was accused only of having "too many birds" and it didn't matter that they were very well cared for, in good health, etc. they were taken!!!

animalrightsisabolishment

I believe she was targeted... she had money and was a breeder. She loved her animals and was willing to post well over a million dollars for their care. I saw pictures where her place was beautiful... acres of land for the dogs to run on as well as run of the house. Most raids happen in the early morning.. and yet in many instances the pictures proving filth are taken hours after.The place was left trashed as was evident by the many photos available. Felony criminal neglect? Using fancy words does not change the fact it is warts and a common parasite. One of the most horrible pictures that I saw.. was a humane officer restraining a dog in a very cruel manner.. my opinion. And before you all just blindly trust the HSUS.... look how much this case pulled in for them... then ask why so many dogs died in their care for issues not related to previous care. When the laws and prosecution is greater for an animal then for a child we have problems folks. Could it be because the end goal is one generation and out? Breeders are targets yet no one seems to care about the millions of dogs imported by these very groups for "rescue".. many purebred or small dogs and not the "meat or street" dogs they claim. Once they shut the breeders down, taking out imports from third world countries will be a cinch especially with the diseases being brought in with them... and where will the pet loving public find their next dog... they won't... "one generation and out". Wake up folks.. and no I am not a breeder..I have just been paying attention.... Don't believe me.. look up animal rights abolition...

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