Dead animals found at Putney-based tourist attraction - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Dead animals found at Putney-based tourist attraction

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PUTNEY, Vt. -- The carcasses of 16 fallow deer, a pheasant, and a potbellied pig were found on the grounds of the Putney-based tourist attraction, according to the Windham County Sheriff's Office.

Lillian Billewicz, 55, and Brian Diestler, 24, who is tasked with caring for the animals, were ticketed and are facing animal cruelty charges.

The Sheriff's Office said a deputy noticed the park hadn't been visited in a few days. The Sheriff's Office said it's now up to the district attorney if more charges will be filed.

"Once they review all the evidence, they look at all the photos that we have, the witness statements that we have from people who knew the animals before and saw the condition of them now and some other folks who we're interviewing," Keith Clark from the Windham County Sheriff's Office said. "She'll make a determination whether or not this needs to be addressed through criminal court."

Billewicz released a statement on Santa's Land's Facebook page Monday, saying "the harshness of the winter has taken its toll, but please be assured all animals are being fed, watered, and sheltered appropriately."

Police note that Santa's Land is currently closed for the season, and that the 17 surviving animals there were in good condition.

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