Woman arrested for dumping 7 newborn puppies in Coachella dumpster

by Kim Boateng Posted on April 23rd, 2019

Palm Springs, California:  Deborah Sue Culwell, a woman suspected of dumping a bag containing seven 3-day-old puppies behind an auto parts store in Southern California has been arrested by Riverside County animal control and law enforcement officials.

Animal services spokesman John Welsh said Deborah Sue Culwell was arrested at her residence in Coachella Monday evening. Culwell is facing up to seven counts of felony animal cruelty, Welsh said.

Officials said store surveillance video shows a woman pulled up in a Jeep next to a trash bin outside the Napa Auto Parts store just after 1 p.m. last Thursday.

The video then shows the woman got out of the vehicle carrying a plastic bag. She walked toward a bin used for recycling materials, opened the lid, dropped it in, and drove away, animal services officials said.

A passerby saw the incident and contacted a store employee, who called the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. An officer arrived less than an hour later and collected the puppies, believed to be terrier mix.

The puppies were brought to a Riverside County animal campus where veterinarians cared for them. MeoowzResQ, a Southern California rescue group that specializes in kitten and cat rescue, has partnered with animal services to foster the puppies and take over bottle-feeding duties.

Temperatures in Coachella on Thursday were in the mid-90s, and if the passerby had not stopped and found the puppies when he did, they likely would have died in the heat, animal services officials said.

“The good Samaritan played a major role in saving these puppies’ lives,” animal services Commander Chris Mayer said. “His actions were humane and heroic.”

Mayer described the woman’s actions as “despicable.”

“There is no excuse for dumping puppies,” Mayer said. “Especially in today’s age when we or other shelters would be willing to get these animals to foster parents or rescue partners. This was a shameful act.”

Deborah Culwell Had 38 More Dogs Living In Coachella Home

Authorities say the home of a woman arrested on suspicion of dumping a bag of newborn puppies in a trash bin was overrun with 38 dogs that have been confiscated.

Deborah Culwell, 54, faces up to seven felony counts of animal cruelty after investigators identified her as the woman captured on surveillance video throwing away a clear plastic bag that contained seven 3-day-old puppies in a dumpster outside an auto parts store last week. She was arrested Monday at her home on 3rd Street in Coachella, where authorities found even more dogs living in home that was in a severe state of disrepair.

A total of 38 dogs were confiscated from the home, and taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms. Officials say most of the dogs appear to be in somewhat healthy condition, but some were aggressive or fearful.

Images from the home taken by Animal Services officers show bare and scratched up furniture, broken and missing floor tiles, and at least one couch that had been torn down to the springs.

The dogs impounded from the home are not available for adoption at this time, and one may be the mother of the dumped puppies. Officials are determining whether a reunion can be coordinated.

As for the newborn puppies — all of which are believed to be terrier mixes — they were all placed in foster care and are being bottle fed.

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