LACEY — A Toms River woman was sentenced Friday to two years' probation, with the state arguing for 364 days in the Ocean County Jail as a condition of that sentence, after she pleaded guilty in July to animal cruelty charges stemming from a 2019 incident.

In a release, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office also said Allissa DeStefano, 30, must perform 60 days of community service and is barred for life from owning animals.

DeStefano was arrested following the November 2019 discovery of the remains of three dogs in an abandoned house in Lacey Township. An investigation revealed that DeStefano had been responsible for the dogs' care, and had abandoned them in that home.

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Neighbors nearby the abandoned house held a vigil for the three dogs, named Fred, Gizmo, and Kobe, shortly after they were found, but officials have never disclosed DeStefano's connection to the animals or why she was responsible for them.

The prosecutor's office thanked Lacey Township police for their assistance in the investigation.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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