The gray-haired ‘Cruella de Vil-type’ dog breeder accused of mistreating dozens of Great Danes in a stately mansion puppy mill is facing financial ruin and the possibility of years behind bars.
Authorities are looking to charge Christina ‘Tina’ Fay, 59, in up to 200 neglect cases; along with federal charges connected with interstate trade and environmental and zoning violations, the local police chief told DailMail.com exclusively. She was arrested on two misdemeanor counts of neglect on June 16.
She even faces child endangerment charges as one of her kennel staff was a juvenile, said Chief Dean Rondeau.
‘I am not backing off of anything on this matter,’ said Rondeau. ‘I don’t care how minute or minor it may be Tina Fay is owning everything.
‘All she had to do was follow the rules. She had to do what you and I do. But instead she decided she is too cool for school and broke them all.’
Rondeau, 54, chief of police in the elegant lakeside town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, led an 80-strong team that raided Fay’s isolated 8-bed, 13-bath mansion on Friday to rescue a total of 93 Great Danes.
Video taken by the Humane Society of the United States shows the giant dogs wallowing in their own filth inside rooms that have expensive art work hanging on the walls.
Others are seen slipping and sliding, trying to keep themselves from falling in cages in the grounds.
Despite using respirators, Rondeau said the smell that greeted his team was horrendous. ‘We got this overwhelming smell of urine and feces and then something rotting.
‘We just didn’t know what it was, we couldn’t quite put your finger on it, but we knew something isn’t right,’ he said.
‘When we first got there it was the barking dogs that first hit us and then we got the smell, and that was the real tip-off.’
He said the team has not yet discovered the bodies of any dogs on site, but he is convinced they are there. ‘Our investigations tell us they are there, either buried or incinerated or both.’
‘There are three floors, dogs were on all three. It was absolutely disgusting, it was horrid. The smell of ammonia from the urine burned your eyes.
‘I’ve never seen conditions this bad in more than 21 years of law enforcement,’ he added. ‘Words cannot describe the absolute abhorrent conditions these animals were living in.’
A total of 84 dogs were rescued from the site. They are now being housed in a 25,000 sq. ft. building in a secret location where they are considered evidence for Fay’s upcoming trial.
Nine other dogs that Fay had shipped out before the raid — and are not part of the case against her — are now with the Humane Society in Conway, New Hampshire, awaiting adoption.
‘For whatever reason she didn’t want those nine, whether they were bad breeding stock or whatever,’ said Rondeau. ‘These are her cast-offs.’
Fay has so far been charged with two misdemeanor neglect charges that each carry a maximum sentence of a $2,000 fine and a year in jail.
Three reckless conduct charges and the child endangerment case each with similar punishment, will be added, said Rondeau. ‘So that means she is potentially facing six years already,’ he said.
But dozens, perhaps hundreds more cases could be filed, depending on veterinarians’ reports on the dogs rescued from the site.
‘Let’s say out of those 84 dogs that have been seized, 70 of them come back with health issues associated with neglect and maltreatment, we will enter two charges per dog, one for the negligent environment and one for the negligent act itself,’ said Chief Rondeau.
‘So there could theoretically be close to 200 charges plus any federal charges if we can build a federal case. Then there are zoning violations, running a business like this essentially underground in a residential area.
‘We are not backing away from those zoning charges. They are civil but they carry really substantial penalties.
‘Then you have any environmental charges that the state deems to file, then you’ve got civil charges for failing to have your dogs’ rabies vaccinations to prevent outbreaks of disease.
‘That’s the part I am most upset about,’ he added. ‘Aside from the animal cruelty this is a scofflaw attitude. She is breaking laws all over the place here, just because she doesn’t want to obey them.
‘She doesn’t have that choice. We live in a civilized society and this is the social contract that we sign as members of a civilized society that you follow the rules. Not because government is trying to be oppressive but because when you don’t follow the rules bad things happen and we have outbreaks of salmonella or whatever.’
Rondeau estimates the cost of the entire operation to be around $500,000.
He said the town will seek to recoup that money from Fay. She is currently out on bail and due to appear in court in Ossipee, New Hampshire on August 2.
Fay, 59, ran her business from the 13,000 sq. ft. home set on 57 acres close to picturesque Wentworth Lake.
She bought the home for $1.525 million in 2015. ‘It’s trash now,’ said Rondeau.
Since the raid, locals in Wolfeboro — which bills itself as America’s Oldest Summer Resort — are likening Fay to Cruella de Vil, the evil heiress from the children’s book 101 Dalmatians who kidnaps dozens of puppies for their fur.
But little is known about her or how she came to live in Wolfeboro. Public records show she owns property in Pawling, New York and in Maine.
Rondeau said authorities in Maine have contacted him about the case and he hopes to speak to those in New York too. He said that to his knowledge Fay has no criminal record.
Police believe the only other person living in the home was Fay’s adult son, Ned. Ned told DailyMail.com he was not involved in the business and Rondeau said he is not facing charges.
‘But I do have a question, how was he able to get from his room to the front door? He must have known what was going on.’
Cops discovered the alleged abuse through what the chief calls ‘a serendipitous comingling of events,’ in early May.
An animal control officer reported that Fay had clearly not wanted him to enter the house. And within days, two kennel workers, one of them the child worker, approached the SPCA with evidence.
‘He was doing what all millennials do when they see something. Click, click, click, taking pictures on his phone and saying this is not right,’ said Rondeau.
They decided on the early morning raid for the team made up of police and sheriff’s officers from three separate forces, humane society staff, veterinarians, health officers and others. They gathered at the town police station at 6.45 am. And after a 90-minute briefing the caravan of vehicles headed to the Fay home to mount the rescue.
‘Basically we left one dispatcher in the station and hoped nothing was going to happen in Wolfeboro that day,’ said Rondeau.
‘The real mechanics were how were we to do this?’ he added. ‘We have a mammoth undertaking here, like moving a small zoo. How do we do this and how do we do this safely?
‘I knew it was going to be at least 78 dogs. We planned for the worst hoping that that would not happen. But nothing could have prepared us for the initial breach into that building. It was awful, it was absolutely awful.’
Inside Fay’s house, they found Great Danes suffering from a range of diseases including papilloma and cherry eye. They discovered sawhorses that they believe female dogs were tied to while they were serviced by up to five male dogs at a time.
‘My understanding is that it is considered better if the puppies in the litter are fathered by more than one stud dog,’ said Rondeau. ‘It is absolutely inhumane.’
‘One black and white dog had a really bad case of cherry eye. It’s a disease where the tear duct gets blocked, leaving the cornea constantly scratching against the eyelid.
‘The sad thing is this condition can be corrected very easily. Sometimes through surgery, sometimes with nothing other than diet, but she had done nothing.
‘Supposedly she had a veterinarian. She certainly has the resources, that is not an issue for this woman. She could easily have taken these dogs to have them treated.’
Pure bred Great Dane owners from around the country would send their animals to Fay’s company De La Sang Monde — French for World Blood — to be inseminated.
They were unaware of what went on inside the mansion. One man from Louisiana contacted police after the raid to say his contract insisted that Fay be allowed to keep one of his litter to use as a future breeding dog.
Fay sold puppies at prices ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Great Danes have litters of anywhere between five and 15,’ said Rondeau. ‘So there was a lot of money at stake.’
Watch the video: