Judge moves hearing date of Tampa woman charged with animal cruelty
TAMPA - A woman arrested three times on animal cruelty charges since May 2007 returned to court this afternoon, but the judge moved the hearing to September. Cynthia Annette Cuervo, 44, of Tampa, has a new court date for 1:30 p.m. Sept. 15. She faces 14 misdemeanor counts of confinement of animals without food and water. Cuervo has pleaded not guilty to those charges. Cuervo previously had been ordered by a judge to not have animals, but she ignored those orders in November when deputies found 14 emaciated dogs in her home, Hillsborough County Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan said.The dogs seized from Cuervo's home were "hungry, thirsty, grimy and very, very smelly," Ryan said last year. Twelve were small-breed dogs such as poodles and long-haired terriers. A Great Dane and German shepherd were also seized. Those dogs have since been adopted. Cuervo was first arrested in May 2007 after investigators found five hungry dogs in a shed on her property, Ryan said. Cuervo surrendered custody of the animals and charges were dropped, Ryan said. In February 2008, 16 dogs and three cats were seized from Cuervo's home. The remains of a dog were also found, Ryan said. Circuit Judge Walter Heinrich barred Cuervo from owning more animals. In November, a Hillsborough deputy familiar with Cuervo's case was on routine patrol in the neighborhood when she heard dogs barking inside Cuervo's home, Ryan said. Cuervo told investigators that those animals belonged to one of her children, Ryan said. Cuervo's attorney could not immediately be reached for comment today.
Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at (813) 259-7691.