VPR Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
VPR News

Santa's Land Deer Moved To Veterans' Home Park

Susan Keese
The owner of Santa's Land in Purney and her employee are awaiting trial for animal abuse.

Two dozen fallow deer confiscated from Santa's Land in Putney have a new home. They’re living in the deer park at the Vermont Veterans Home in Bennington. The 22 deer were the last of more than 40 animals removed from the once popular theme roadside park. A llama, an emu, and assorted goats, ponies, donkeys and birds have been taken in by volunteers.

The park’s owner, Lilian Billewicz, and her employee, Brian Deistler, are awaiting trial on animal abuse charges. Last winter some 20 animals were found dead at the park. Others were emaciated and living in unsanitary conditions.

The animals are in the custody of the Windham County Sheriff’s office. Sheriff Keith Clark said it’s been time-consuming and costly.

"If it wasn’t for volunteers and people willing to donate money for the care of the animals," Clark said, "We would have probably had no other option than to euthanize these animals that were really the innocent entities here."

A forfeiture hearing on November 20 will determine whether the animals can be permanently removed.

Related Content