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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

Who Is Terri Easterbrooks, and Why Does She Matter?

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on May 12, 2018

They called her, “The Beast”. She has been described as the “Michael Vick” of the Cavalier world. Vick, of course, is the former NFL quarterback whose career came to a halt in 2007 after he pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring and spent 21 months in federal prison.

She is in her early 50s and has no criminal conviction of any kind. Her dogs were never bred for fighting and were never brutally executed, as was the case with Michael Vick.

They demonized her by falsely claiming she earned “blood money” from her breeding of Cavaliers, even though her kennel operations complied with every federal, state, and local regulation and law that governed her lawful business activities.

They mocked the “puppy millers/Amish people” who bought her well bred and properly documented stock of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies and adult dogs.

They monitored her kennel and constantly stalked her.

They Forced Her Descent Into a Living Hell

Led by Birmingham, Alabama attorney Angie Hubbard Ingram and Kentucky lawyer Lindsey Cordes, they began to use the legal system to harass and abuse her. They complained to regulatory bodies, law enforcement officials, and animal control agencies about her kennel operations. As a result of their persistent complaints, her Rock Cliff Farms kennel in Lineville, Alabama was physically inspected to ensure that the lives and safety of her Cavaliers were not endangered. No violations of animal welfare regulations and laws were found. Yet, they continued to file complaints against her.

Eventually, her Rock Cliff Farms property was raided by an animal control agency, with the assistance of local law enforcement authorities. Several Cavaliers were taken for veterinary examinations. Again, no animal welfare violations were found, and the Cavaliers were returned to her custody and control.

They tried to force a turnover of her Cavaliers to Cavalier Rescue USA through a lawsuit they filed against her. This litigation caused her severe emotional distress and mental anguish, in addition to mounting legal fees. In the end, their forced turnover effort was not successful.

By 2014, she was tired of fighting the demonization of her name and lawful business activities, the unsuccessful efforts to seize her Cavaliers, and the pressures of malicious court litigation. To end the dreadful nightmare they had created in her world, she decided to give up her beloved Cavaliers. In order to wind down her kennel operations, she arranged for the sale of her Cavaliers at a Wheaton, Missouri auction scheduled for November 22, 2014.

The lawyers who sought to “rescue” her beautiful Cavalier puppies and adult dogs solicited clients to file a lawsuit against her on the eve of the auction. “We need Plaintiffs that are out-of-state…. I know you are interested in suing [her]….We want to file this [lawsuit against her] before the auction on the 22nd and attempt to get an order of garnishment so her bank account is frozen with the auction proceeds.…”, said Attorney Cordes. Of course, Bar Association rules in Kentucky and Alabama prohibit the solicitation of clients.

The “rescuers” hatched a plan to “save” her Cavaliers at the auction. Calling themselves the Cavalier Group of Greater Birmingham (“CGGB”), they were actually Cavalier Rescue USA’s Alabama coordinators and volunteers. They used $268,000 in publicly solicited GoFundMe money and PayPal funds to purchase all of her Cavaliers at the auction. During the funding solicitation efforts headed by “rescuer” Brittney Wilk, the women of CGGB never disclosed that they intended to keep some of the highest price Cavaliers for themselves.

While soliciting the “rescue” money, the women of CGGB promised that the “saved” Cavalier dogs from her Rock Cliff Farms would go into Cavalier Rescue USA’s respectable foster home program first. From there, the Cavaliers would be adopted to pre-screened, qualified families who sought them as house pets.

Instead, the “rescuers” cherry-picked the expensive Cavaliers they wanted, allocated these dogs among themselves, and adopted them to each other without any approval from Cavalier Rescue USA’s board of directors. The Cavaliers that were left over went into the foster home program. Afterwards, the “rescuers” disassociated themselves from Cavalier Rescue USA.

As planned, they sued her, froze her bank account, and put a legal chokehold on her life. “We want to milk her out of her $”, said CGGB “rescuer” Lisa Thompson in late December 2014. “We are going to hit her hard. And her lawyer is old and tired …. not one expected to fight”, she bragged.

In 2015, their aggressive tactics forced her into bankruptcy.

“How do you live with yourself”, one of the cyber-bullies asked as they publicly trashed her name and reputation on the Internet. “There is a special place in H*** for you… because you can’t hid anymore.”

The emotional, physical, and financial toll that this unimaginable and highly coordinated harassment campaign took on her life as a law-abiding citizen and loving Cavalier breeder was devastating. She lost her dogs; she lost her kennel; she lost her property; she lost her health; she lost her husband; and she lost her purpose-driven life. Ironically, she was regarded as a highly reputable breeder of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies and adult dogs for over a decade before she became the target of an orchestrated, nasty, and highly effective campaign of harassment and bullying.

Alone and unprotected, she tried to take her life within a week after the last of her beloved Cavaliers were sold in a privately arranged transfer of ownership transaction in early 2015. She had nothing left to give. They pushed her toward the brink of death in the name of “rescuing” her Cavaliers.

Ending the Nightmare

Fortunately for those who abhor bullying, she survived. Her name is Terri Taylor Easterbrooks.

Terri’s tragic experience symbolizes what happens when those who play “dirty” in the name of doing “good” target decent people for harassment and bullying in order to advance their own narrow-minded, self-centered interests.

Thus far, the CGGB Cavalier “rescuers’ who ruined Terri Easterbrooks’ life have escaped accountability for their egregious bullying of her for two primary reasons: First, they are connected to Allison Black Cornelius, President and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society (“GBHS”). Second, Angie Ingram, a debt collection attorney, is proficient at using Alabama’s legal system to harass and bully targeted individuals.

The women of CGGB now call themselves “Cavalier Rescue of Alabama, Inc.” They are still doing their thing.

Angie Ingram’s newest organization, the Puppy Mill Project, formed a partnership with GBHS in 2017. “Rescuer” Lisa Thompson is a GBHS board member. Allison Black Cornelius used GHBS resources and staff members to aid and abet CGGB’s “rescue” of Terri Easterbrooks’ Cavaliers at the Missouri auction.

True to form, Angie Ingram, Brittney Wilk, Lisa Thompson, and four other CGGB “rescuers” sued seven “whistleblowers” who raised well-founded ethical questions about CGGB’s Missouri “rescue” operation. Allison Black Cornelius, who is listed in the March 20, 2018 online edition of Alabama Today as one of the most influential women in Alabama, encouraged Ingram to “sue the daylights out of this woman [referring to “whistleblower” Heather Halldin].” Ingram, who is tied to the hip with Cornelius, dutifully complied.

Cornelius’ personal and professional association with Ingram, Thompson, and their CGGB companions provided a cloak of legitimacy for CGGB’s bullying of Terri Taylor Easterbrooks and the lawsuit against the “whistleblowers” who raised questions about the Missouri Cavalier “rescue’ operation, of which Cornelius and GBHS were an integral part. By her complicit actions, Cornelius has now called GBHS's entire operations into question.

Bouncing Back from the Brink of Death

As for Terri Taylor Easterbrooks, she is slowly bouncing back from that “special place in H***” where the CGGB “rescuers” sent her. Her present whereabouts are unknown.

Terri Easterbrooks, a Rhode Island native and former Florida resident, no longer has to fight this bullying campaign alone. Her cry for help has been heard. Those who are committed to exposing and stopping bullying are now aware of her plight.

Now, we know who Terry Taylor Easterbrooks is, and why she matters to those of us who respect the rule of law and sanctity of human life. The bullying of Terri Easterbrooks will end -- very soon. Those who bullied Easterbrooks to the point of near-suicide will be held accountable.

Meanwhile, it is time to demand full accountability and transparency at GBHS and Cavalier Rescue of Alabama. Accountability begins with telling the truth about these two organizations and their questionable animal welfare practices and deployable “rescue” tactics.

Stay tuned.

PHOTO: Terri Taylor Easterbrooks with her Cavaliers during happier days.

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