A wealthy dog breeder found guilty of abusing scores of Great Danes and compared to Cruela de Vil will escape jail, a judge decided on Thursday.
But Christina Fay will have to pay more than $750,000 to The Humane Society of the United States for the dogs’ upkeep since her arrest.
And she will only be able to keep one animal at a time for the rest of her life in a bid to prevent her hoarding dogs in the future.
Fay, 59, immediately said she would appeal the decision issued by Judge Charles Greenhalgh in court in Ossipee, New Hampshire – although prosecutors had demanded she serve six months in prison.
And she slammed the Humane Society, saying that two of her dogs have died in the organization’s care.
‘What my dogs are going through is horrendous,’ she told reporters after the hearing. ‘Just pray for my dogs — and have a Merry Christmas.’
Squalor: These were some of the scenes which greeted cops and animal welfare workers when they raided Christina Fay’s sprawling Wolfesboro, N.H., property – but she escaped going to jail on Thursday
Still appealing: Christina Fay said after escaping jail that she would appeal her sentence, which included paying $750,000 to the Humane Society of the United States for the upkeep of the scores of Great Danes seized from her
Found in their own filth: At her Wolfeboro, N.H., home, Fay kept 84 Great Danes with her favorites living indoors where they defecated freely
Center for cruelty: The 13-bedroom home where Fay lived in New Hampshire was home to dozens of dogs indoor and in its grounds. Fay claims she cannot return to it because she has received death threats
Behind bars: Dozens of dogs were kept in enclosures outside the house, where the ground was soaked with their urine, and where they were kept thirsty from lack of water. Fay had given up burying the dead.
Safe: Police and Human Society officials removed 84 dogs from the home when they raided it in June
Inhumane: Fay was found guilty of specific charges of cruelty towards Zizi, Fantasia, Lyric, Joue and Harazah and seven other charges of failing to treat papilloma, cherry eye, ear infections and conjunctivitis, feeding her dogs maggot-infested chicken, leaving them without water, and keeping them in an area with a high ammonia content caused by their urine
She exclusively told DailyMail.com that the dog she has chosen is an older female called Etabeta who has hip problems. ‘I would love to have taken a younger dog who could go outside and play, but I am not sure she is getting adequate treatment,’ she said.
She claimed the prosecution had smeared her throughout, calling it ‘overblown, untrue and profoundly unfair.’
She said she still has no plans to surrender the specially bred European Great Danes voluntarily even after the judge had turned down her plan to have them rehoused with ‘friends and friends of friends.’ She told the judge she wanted to take nine of the dogs herself to her new home, while the rest would be farmed out.
Fay, who arrived at court in a blue Mercedes C300 convertible, was dubbed Cruella de Vil after the evil 101 Dalmatians character following her arrest.
Dozens of cops and animal welfare groups raided her 13-bedroom mansion in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on June 16.
She pleaded not guilty to five individual counts of animal cruelty — to dogs named Zizi, Fantasia, Lyric, Joue and Harazah — as well as seven other charges of failing to treat papilloma, cherry eye, ear infections and conjunctivitis, feeding her dogs maggot-infested chicken, leaving them without water, and keeping them in an area with a high ammonia content caused by their urine.
Judge Greehalgh, sitting without a jury, convicted her on all counts earlier this month. On Thursday he sentenced her to 12 months suspended sentence on each count.
Squalid: Annie-Rose Newell, who worked for one day at Fay’s house, said the Great Danes constantly slipped on the floors because of the layer of feces that coated them. They often jumped on Fay’s bed with their filthy feet. ‘Everything that was on the floor was being transferred onto her bed,’ she said.
Infected: One of the charges Fay was found guilty of was letting dogs have cherry eye and failing to treat it. She claimed it was common among European Great Danes and did not necessarily need treated
Neglected: The dogs were kept in circumstances which prosecutors said needed punished by six months in prison but on Thursday
In safe hands: All of the dogs seized form Fay are now being held by the Human Society of the United States and were considered evidence in the case. Because she plans to appeal, they will remain in the society’s custody
‘I am not going to send Mrs. Fay to jail. I do not think she belongs there,’ the judge said.
But he ordered her to pay the Humane Society a total of $773,887 in restitution and also to pay nearly $18,000 to the Town of Wolfeboro and the SPCA. The Humane Society has been caring for the animals since they were seized. The restitution amount comes to more than $20 per day per dog in care.
He said she could choose just one neutered or spayed dog for herself but the rest would have to stay in the care of the Humane Society until the appeal is heard.
Outside the court, Lindsay Hamrick, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society of the United States said the sentence was ‘fair.’
Despite the cruelty convictions, Fay insisted she took good care of the dogs until a ‘perfect storm’ of events in the early summer. She said a staff shortage, combined with her worsening leg injury and a heatwave meant she could not let the dogs out on to the grounds as much as she would like.
In court on Thursday, Fay would not say where she is now living because she says she has had death threats and people turning up at her home. ‘That will continue,’ she said.
Instead she told Judge Greenhalgh she ‘had a property in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire but I live in another city.’
She insisted Thursday that she should be allowed to decide what happens to the animals, painting the Humane Society as uncaring.
She said the two dogs that had died in the Humane Society’s care, one had bloat and the other a twisted gut. ‘It is unacceptable and horrific,’ she said. She claimed the dog with the twisted cut had died because she had been fed large amounts of commercial dry dog food while she would have fed her raw meat.
She said her vet had visited the secret location where the dogs have been kept and found ‘obvious depression,’ among the animals. ‘Two litters are growing up in cages,’ she said.
‘If they were with me they would be going out every day and sleeping on couches and beds.’
But prosecutor Timothy Morgan said with the dogs only having a life expectancy of six years, statistically many more should have died. ‘On average, it should be a little more than one per month,’ he said.
At a previous hearing, Fay had referred to her animals as works of art. ”I never had any aspiration to make a profit or even break even. I just wanted to share the incredible beauty and treasure I had in these dogs,’ she added, likening them to Rembrandts or Van Goghs.
She said she spent $25-35,000 a month on caring for the dogs and in her best year made just $6,000 from selling them.
‘The idea of a puppy mill is pretty much at the bottom of my dislike list,’ Fay told the earlier hearing.
Fay portrayed herself as a caring breeder who ran her business out of love and made just 2 percent of her expenditure from selling them.
She said that in one calendar year alone she made 289 vet visits with the dogs. ‘It was a very expensive proposition,’ she said.
‘I would never have taken in the number of dogs if I did not feel I could give them 1,000 percent of what they deserve.’
But Fay said she realized she had made a huge mistake when she moved to Wolfeboro from her previous home in Maine.
Care needed: The dogs rescued by cops and the Humane Society suffered from ailments including eye infections, papilloma, ear infections and conjunctivitis
Inexplicable: The cruelty inflicted on the Great Danes was not for profit. Fay told the court that she was not running a ‘puppy mill’
Inevitable comparison: Christina Fay was compared to Cruella de Vil, the villain of 101 Dalmatians, after her arrest
‘I remember writing to my attorney and telling him it felt like we had landed in a Stephen King town where they are so unwelcoming,’ she said. ‘It has never been warm and fuzzy here.’
Fay, a former veterinary technician at the Bronx Zoo in New York, said she bought the house on 54 acres because she thought it would give her plenty of space.
But within 36 hours of moving in she got her first complaint about barking and from then on had to abandon the specially-built gardens complete with air conditioned kennels that she had spent thousands on to house the dogs.
Instead, she said, she had to move them inside the huge house to cut down on the noise her neighbors could hear.
The dogs were seized in June after complaints about Fay’s business — which she called De La Sang Monde, the French for World Blood — based in the huge mansion close to picturesque Wentworth Lake.
She bought the 13,000 sq. ft. home for $1.525 million in 2015. The real estate listing at the time called it a ‘custom built, recently improved, 8 master suite home’ which included ‘a lovely 4 room Au Pair suite, a fabulous gourmet kitchen with marble counter tops, 2 islands, large walk in pantry and stainless steel appliances, a cherry paneled library, an amazing home theater room, beautiful marble baths, gleaming hardwood floors and all the amenities you would expect from a home of this quality and caliber.’
But the house was trashed by the sheer number of dogs kept by blue-blooded Fay — whose grandmother married famed financier E.F. Hutton when she was 28 and he was 60 and following Hutton’s death went on to become a viscountess after marrying a member of the British cabinet.
Fay told Judge Charles Greenhalgh that she had the means — and the ability — to indulge her passion for the dogs. She said she had adopted six children at birth, all of whom had problems resulting from drug or alcohol abuse by their mothers, and had spent her life around horses.
So once her children had grown she decided to start importing European Great Danes — which she described as ‘180 lb. black labs in disguise’ — and selling them.
‘They are dear, loving, dedicated, loyal dogs that just want to be loved and to love,’ Fay said.
She expressly denied her house was filthy. When her attorney Kent Barker produced photos and videos of the dogs appearing happy she denied that dirt on the walls and floors was feces.
‘It is mud they brought in from outside,’ she said, before adding that the walls were cleaned daily.
At another hearing in October, teenage worker Annie-Rose Newell told the court that the conditions at Fay’s home were ‘shocking.’
‘I felt horrible for the dogs that had to live in those conditions, Newell, 17, said, according to the Concord Monitor.
In need of love: The Humane Society rescuers were able to provide some much-needed affection for the Great Danes but Fay on Thursday claimed the society was not looking after them properly
Shameful: Rescuers found dogs kept in indoor cages desperate to be let out when they raided the home in June. But Fay denied cruelty
Chance for life: The Humane Society recovered 84 European Great Danes from conditions which prosecutors said were cruel. Fay was found guilty by a jury
Too much: Worker Marilyn Kelly told the court in October that the situation at the house on Warren Sands Road in Wolfeboro was ‘out of control.’ She said at one point she could not work because she injured her back lifting a dead dog.
Needing freedom: The dogs were only let out of their cages, where they had no water, for 15 minutes a day. They were fed just once a day. ‘There are no windows and no interaction. The room burns your eyes from the urine,’ worker Marilyn Kelly told the court before Fay was found guilty
Newell had got a job at Fay’s mansion, hoping to fulfill her wish to work with animals. But she quit after just one day because of the conditions the dogs were kept in.
She said the Great Danes constantly slipped on the floors because of the layer of feces that coated them. They often jumped on Fay’s bed with their filthy feet. ‘Everything that was on the floor was being transferred onto her bed,’ she said.
Newell said even had problems staying upright herself because of the floor was so slick it was like an ice rink.
Maggots infested the chicken pieces kept in the refrigerator, Newell added.
‘Maggots just poured out from the door and down on to the ground,’ the teen said, adding that the Fay family had offered to let her eat her lunch with them in the house. ‘But I decided to go to my car,’ she said.
Annie-Rose Newell, 17, had got a job at Fay’s mansion, hoping to fulfill her wish to work with animals. But she quit after just one day because of the conditions the dogs were kept in
‘I could not eat anything that day. I had to do all I could to help with the dogs.
‘I am not a person who’s prone to crying or emotions,’ Newell added. ‘But I immediately just started crying. I couldn’t breathe.’
Newell took photos on her single day on the job and handed them over to the Humane Society of the United States, beginning the process which ended with Fay being charged.
A second kennel worker, Marilyn Kelly told the court in October that the situation at the house on Warren Sands Road in Wolfeboro was ‘out of control.’
She said at one point she could not work because she injured her back lifting a dead dog.
Kelly complained to Fay’s veterinarian Kate Battenfelder, who, instead of helping, immediately reported back to Fay, said Kelly.
‘That created quite a scene,’ said Kelly, who said Fay was ‘furious’ with her.
Battenfelder, whose practice in Bartlett, New Hampshire, is a 90-minute drive from Fay’s home, had invoked her Fifth Amendment rights to prevent her being called as a witness for the defense.
In her statement taken at the time of the raid on Fay’s house, Kelly said she had seen Fay staple a dog’s wound without antibiotics after it got involved in a fight.
‘She said dogs that are prescribed medications are rarely given the medication for the directed time and only get it for one to two days at most.
Kelly said the dogs were only let out of their cages, where they had no water, for 15 minutes a day. They were fed just once a day. ‘There are no windows and no interaction. The room burns your eyes from the urine.
‘More than half the dogs in the house have liquid stool and it is common to see them vomiting as well.’
In her statement, the teenage Newell told Wolfeboro cop Michael Strauch of her disgust at the conditions she discovered in the isolated 8-bed, 13-bath mansion.
There are no windows and no interaction. The room burns your eyes from the urine. More than half the dogs in the house have liquid stool and it is common to see them vomiting as well.
Marilyn Kelly, who worked for Fay
Newell had been recruited by kennel manager Julia Smith, the police file revealed. On her only day at work, May 2, she was horrified by what she found and immediately started taking pictures on her phone, which are now being used as evidence against Fay.
Newell – who was referred to in the police report only by her initials as she was just 16 at the time – told police as soon as she went to Fay’s home on Warren Sands Road in Wolfeboro, she was met by a smell which made her ‘want to gag.’
She told Strauch there were ‘piles of trash and empty boxes covered in chicken juice. There were maggots and bugs covering the floor where some of the dogs were living.’
‘Additionally, A.N. said that while loading trash bags to bring outside, Julia told A.N. she didn’t like one of the trash bags they were loading because it contained a dead puppy.
‘She told A.N. that they used to bury the dead dogs but they don’t anymore,’ wrote Strauch in his report.
‘Once inside the house, A.N. stated that it was hard to walk as the feces and urine had created a thick layer on the floors. A.N. advised the dogs had a hard time standing as well.
The teen — who had experience working with animals as she lived on an alpaca farm — said she was shocked by the area where chicken for the dogs was prepared.
‘The counters were covered in old chicken parts and chicken juice was running off the counter on to the floor,’ wrote Strauch. ‘The buckets that were used for feeding were not cleaned out from previous feedings. There was also a meat grinder on the counter that was not clean.’
Newell, who was paid $80 for her one day of work, told cops she saw dogs defecating on the floor inside the house while unconcerned Fay watched them.
‘A.N. counted at least 25 Great Danes in one room alone,’ wrote Strauch. Many other rooms were ‘filled with dogs.’
But Fay kept her favorite dogs in her bedroom, Strauch’s report revealed. ‘In Fay’s bedroom the dogs were on the bed and there were feces everywhere. In the master bedroom there was a litter of Great Dane puppies. They were so young that their eyes hadn’t yet opened.’
When Julia Smith took Newell to the ‘hot and stuffy’ basement, she told the teen the dogs ‘needed to go out today because they didn’t go out yesterday and they only get water when they go outside.’
‘A.N. saw many dogs with severely swollen legs and feet and one dog that had such bad ‘Cherry Eye’ that it couldn’t see. A.N. advised they let the dogs out and all they wanted to do was drink ‘puddle water.’
At Tuesday’s hearing Fay said that cherry eye is a condition common to European Great Danes that is not serious and can often be left untreated.