In an awful case of animal cruelty, an Ocean County woman has pled guilty to charges she left three dogs in an abandoned house in Lacey Township to die.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer says that Allissa DeStefano, 30, of Toms River, pleaded guilty Friday to animal cruelty charges.

She'll be sentenced in September, when prosecutors will request a year in county jail as a condition of probation.

It was back on Nov. 11, 2019, that the Lacey Police Department was called to an address for a report that dogs had been abandoned at the home.

Ocean County Jail booking photo of Allissa DeStefano

"Upon arrival, the officers determined that the house was indeed abandoned, and the remains of three dogs were discovered," Billhimer said.

An investigation found that DeStefano was responsible for leaving the dogs behind in the house, and she was responsible for their death. She was arrested at the time by Lacey Township Police, processed and released.

Her sentencing is scheduled for September 24, 2021.

Billhimer thanked "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."

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