TEARS founder Terra Cotromano arrested

Terra Cotromano (photo source Jefferson County Sheriff's Department)
Terra Cotromano (photo source Jefferson County Sheriff's Department)

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The founder of the animal rescue service "TEARS" has charged with animal cruelty.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, in a statement to FOX6 News, said Terra Cotromano was arrested Thursday morning in Mulga.  Investigators said she is charged with 20 counts of cruelty to a dog or cat.

The District Attorney looked at reports from a veterinarian and investigators before filing the charges.

Cotromano served as executive director of TEARS before she was fired by the board of directors in December.  At the time, the board cited a list of reasons for terminating Cotromano, including unexplained financial irregularities, improper bookkeeping and failure to ensure humane conditions and care of animals on TEARS property.

Cotromano talked to FOX6 News in January, a few days after being fired, saying the accusations were not true.  She also claimed she was illegally fired as the executive director of the non-profit organization.

"All of this is desperate attempt on behalf of these two board members who just simply have a desire for power and knew that they were going to be voted out," said Cotromano.

The Jefferson County Sheriff's department took dozens of animals, including donkeys and two aguanas, from the TEARS property in December.  The animals were initially cared for by the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

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