Former Santa's Land owner ordered to pay restitution


BRATTLEBORO >> After a bit of a delay, the former Santa's Land owner has a month to come up with some money for her restitution order.

On Friday, July 1, 57-year-old Lillian Billewicz, of Westminster, was ordered by Windham Superior Court Criminal Division to pay $500 by August 12 and begin monthly payments of $100 on September 16 to the Vermont Veteran's Home in Bennington and to a private individual. Both entities cared for the Santa's Land animals that were forfeited because, according to court documents, Billewicz "cruelly treated her animals by depriving them of 'adequate food, water, shelter,rest, sanitation, or necessary medical attention.'"

Billewicz owes a total of $32,839.18 to the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington and $4,804.60 to the private individual.

"Defendant remains liable for this judgment until paid in full, regardless of whether full payment ordered above based on defendant's current or reasonable ability to pay," states the restitution judgement document.

In the winter of 2013/2014, 18 animals, including 16 deer, were found dead at the holiday-themed destination in Putney. Billewicz bought Santa's Land in 2013. She and her animal caretaker at the time, Brian Deistler of Westminster, each were arraigned on one misdemeanor count and were released on conditions ordered by Judge David Suntag in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division in 2014.

Billewicz's criminal charges are still pending.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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