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Crime & Courts

Tampa woman charged again with animal cruelty

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 02:00 PM
TAMPA -

When investigators arrested Cynthia Cuervo at her Town 'N Country home Wednesday, they saw a familiar scene.

Animals were living in their own waste and some dogs were so emaciated it appeared they haven't eaten for days, said Marti Ryan, spokeswoman for Hillsborough County Animal Services.

In all, 22 dogs, seven birds and one rabbit was seized from Cuervo's home at 8202 W. Crenshaw St. The animals were taken to Animal Services, where they were being treated today.

Cuervo, 46, has been charged with 32 counts of unlawful confinement or abandonment of an animal and five counts of cruelty to animals, one count of battery on a law enforcement officer and one count of obstructing an officer with violence.

Cuervo also was booked on two counts of child neglect because children were living in a home in deplorable conditions, Ryan said.

This is the fourth time in six years Cuervo has been arrested on animal cruelty charges, jail and court records show.

In 2007, she was charged with one count of cruelty to animals and once count of confining the animals without food and water. Those charges were dismissed.

In 2008, she was charged with 40 counts of animal cruelty and 20 counts of confinement without food and water but the charges were dropped. In that case, 16 dogs and three cats were seized. The remains of one animal thought to have been a dog was found in the home.

Later that year, Cuervo was arrested again and charged with five counts of animal cruelty and 12 counts of confinement without food and water. Prosecutors didn't pursue the animal cruelty charges and the confinement charges were reduced to misdemeanors.

Cuervo paid court costs in that case and was sentenced to five years probation in 2010.

Ryan said it's frustrating to keep dealing with a repeat offender like Cuervo.

"She's been taken through the court system three times," Ryan said. "We're beyond tired of this."


rreyes@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7920

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