Ocean County Woman Pleads Guilty To Animal Cruelty, Three Dogs Died

Allissa DeStefano (Photo courtesy Ocean County Prosecutor's Office)

  TOMS RIVER – A Toms River woman has pled guilty to Animal Cruelty after she abandoned three dogs, which led to their deaths.

  On November 11, 2019, the Lacey Township Police Department received reports about dogs being possibly abandoned in the home. When they arrived at the house, they determined it was indeed abandoned and police discovered the remains of three dogs.

  An investigation by Detectives from the Lacey Township Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office revealed that Allissa DeStefano, 30, of Toms River, was responsible for the care of the dogs and had abandoned them in the home, which resulted in their death. Subsequently, DeStefano was arrested without incident, and processed at the Lacey Township Police Department.

  On June 25, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that DeStefano was indicted on three counts of Animal Cruelty. On July 23, Billhimer announced that DeStefano pled guilty to the charges. At the time of her sentencing on September 24, the State will be seeking a term of 364 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of probation.

  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.

A vigil was held for the dogs back in December 2019.