WOLFEBORO, N.H. – Police and animal welfare workers in New Hampshire say they've seized 84 neglected Great Danes, most of them from an eight-bedroom mansion that had floors covered with feces.
"There was just feces everywhere," Lindsay Hamrick, New Hampshire state director of The Humane Society of the United States, said Monday. "The dogs were sliding on it. We were sliding on it."
Hamrick's organization brought in two veterinarians to examine the dogs and puppies. She said many of the animals have eye problems, skin conditions and viral infections that are contagious to other dogs. An emergency shelter was set up. Hamrick said the dogs can't go to foster homes or be adopted during the criminal proceedings because they are considered evidence.
The homeowner, Christina Fay, was charged Friday with two counts of animal cruelty. Police say she ran a business from the home called De La Sang Monde Great Danes.
A message at the business phone number said the voice mailbox was full and an email came back as undeliverable. A Facebook message wasn't immediately returned. It wasn't immediately known if Fay, who is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 2, had a lawyer.
Police said the case isn't just about a few dogs being neglected but "about reckless conduct, abhorrent behavior toward animals over profit, and scofflaw attitude about business practices."
Wolfeboro, a town of about 6,300 residents in New Hampshire's scenic Lakes Region, has a number of summer vacation homes, including one belonging to former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Assessment records show that Fay's house, built in 2004, is valued at $1.45 million.
Hamrick said she was struck by the juxtaposition of showing up at a mansion and finding such a mess. She said the smell of ammonia in the house was overpowering.
"You'd never know by looking at her website or the outside of the house," she said. "It was just heartbreaking."