WOLFEBORO, N.H. (NEWS CENTER) — Many more charges are expected in a bizarre and disturbing animal abuse case out of New Hampshire.
Police say as early as next week new charges could be lodged against Christina Fay, a woman with connections to Maine and New York. Fay is accused of running an illegal dog breeding operation inside a mansion located in Wolfeboro.
A home worth nearly $2 million. Beautiful on the outside, but a much different picture inside.
"It was actually pretty bad. I was physically ill," said Wolfeboro Police Chief Dean Rondeau. "I began to dry heave."
Dogs, some caged, others running free. Eighty-four Great Danes in all. Part of what investigators say was an illegal dog breeding operation. When the chief and his men went inside, they had to wear hazmat type suits.
"In two particular rooms the ammonia levels were so high it would burn your eyes and burn the nostrils of your nose," the chief said. "It was bad."
The setting for such a scene can only be described as bizarre.
"The part that stands out to me, other than the inherent for suffering for these dogs, is that we were in such a possibly beautiful house that was destroyed," said Lindsay Hamrick of the U.S. Humane Society.
The home’s owner, Christina Fay, has been initially charged with two counts of animal cruelty. Police say those charges are just the tip of the iceberg.
Why would she set up such an operation inside a spacious mansion? It’s a question Wolfeboro’s police chief has yet to find an answer to.
"The truth is stranger than fiction," Chief Rondeau said. "I can not, I can not. I’ve stopped trying to figure it out."
What’s especially disturbing to animal welfare workers is that this occurred at a place owned by someone of means.
"The resources that she had, that she wasn’t utilizing to care for these animals, is the part that’s incredibly heartbreaking to us," Hamrick said.
The home has now been deemed uninhabitable. The three people who lived there have been ordered to move out. The chief doesn’t know if the building can be salvaged.
"To be honest with you, I don’t know how you’d clean it. I wouldn’t even begin to know," he said. "Every surface I saw was absolutely contaminated."
The police chief stresses that this case is in its infancy. There is much more work to be done and many more charges are likely.
Besides more animal cruelty charges, the chief says reckless conduct and child endangerment charges will likely be filed against Christina Fay next week.