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Santa's Land Owner Files For Bankruptcy

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Susan Keese
/
VPR
Santa's Land protesters hope to find new homes for the animals remaining at the park.

The owner of Santa’s Land in Putney has filed for bankruptcy.

Lillian Billewicz, of Fair Haven, bought the once-popular theme park last June but has not opened it this year. In March, Billewicz and an employee were charged with animal cruelty after 16 of the park’s fallow deer and some other animals were found dead and emaciated.

The surviving animals are still at the shuttered tourist attraction while the case is pending.

Now Billewicz is seeking Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, which allows some businesses to restructure their debt under a court-approved plan.

Billewicz is also seeking approval from the town of Putney to open a campground on part of the 43-acre park. During a site visit Tuesday, she described her plan for eight-to-10 tent sites and a shower facility.

“Like, ‘Welcome to Santa’s Land,' you know, free admission, come and spend the night at the park,” she explained.

A group of protestors stood outside the site holding signs calling for the animals to be removed. Two members of the group have been charged with trespassing for attempting to feed the animals.

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