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Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on July 23, 2021, Allissa DeStefano, 30, of Toms River, pled guilty to Animal Cruelty in violation of N.J.S.A. 4:22-17c(2), before the Honorable Rochelle Gizinski, J.S.C. At the time of her sentencing on September 24, 2021, the State will be seeking a term of 364 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of probation.

During the evening hours of November 11, 2019, the Lacey Township Police Department responded to a residence in Lacey Township for a report that dogs had possibly been abandoned in the residence. Upon arrival, the officers determined that the house was indeed abandoned, and the remains of three dogs were discovered. An investigation by Detectives from the Lacey Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Squad revealed that DeStefano was responsible for the care of the dogs and had abandoned them in the residence, which resulted in their death. DeStefano was arrested without incident and processed at the Lacey Township Police Department. She was released on a summons pending a future court appearance.

Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the diligent efforts of Assistant Prosecutor Kimberly Carr who is handling the case on behalf of the State, as well as the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Animal Cruelty Squad and Lacey Township Police Department, for their collaborative efforts relative to the investigation of this matter ultimately resulting in DeStefano’s guilty plea.