- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

PUTNEY, Vt. (AP) - A holiday-themed park in Vermont is opening to visitors and protesters this weekend, a month after the owner and caretaker pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty charges.

Lillian Billewicz and Brian Deistler, the owner and caretaker of Santa’s Land, respectively, were arraigned on one misdemeanor count each and were released on court-ordered conditions. Authorities said they found about a dozen dead animals, including deer, a potbellied pig and a peacock.

Sue Frazer-Stebbins of Saxtons River tells the Rutland Herald (http://bit.ly/1tsPRJU) people are concerned about the animals’ health and have organized a protest at the Putney park Saturday morning.

Billewicz says on the business’ Facebook page the animals have always had hay, grain and water, as well as routine vet care. She said she looked forward to a great season.

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Information from: Rutland Herald, http://www.rutlandherald.com/

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