Coachella Woman Suspected of Dumping 7 Newborn Puppies in Trash Bin Had 38 Dogs at Home: Officials

A woman who faces multiple felony counts of animal cruelty after allegedly being captured on video dumping seven newborn puppies in a trash bin last week was found to have 38 other dogs at her home in Coachella, authorities said Tuesday.

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services released this booking photo of Deborah Sue Culwell on April 23, 2019.

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services released this booking photo of Deborah Sue Culwell on April 23, 2019.

Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was arrested on Monday and is being held at Indio Jail on $10,000 bail, according to booking records.

Officials who were dispatched to Culwell's home on Third Street found it to be "overrun" with dozens of dogs, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Animal control officers worked past 8 p.m. as they loaded all 38 dogs found on the property and took them to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, where they were impounded.

"Most of the dogs appeared to be in somewhat healthy condition, but some were aggressive or fearful. The house was in a state of disrepair," a news release from the department stated.

The mother of the dumped puppies may be among the 38 dogs seized from the home, according to the release.

A photo of two of the dogs found in Culwell's home was released by Animal Services on April 23, 2019.

A photo of two of the dogs found in Culwell's home was released by Animal Services on April 23, 2019.

Culwell is suspected of tossing a plastic bag with the seven pups inside in a dumpster behind a Napa Auto Parts store in Coachella last Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

The approximately 3-day-old dogs -- believed to be terrier mixes -- were rescued by a good Samaritan, who found the tiny animals alive near the top of the trash heap, according to the release.

He then took the puppies to the entrance of the auto parts store, where another man discovered the dogs and took them inside.

Animal Service Officer Jose Cisneros collected the puppies when he responded to the store, which is located in the 49200 block of Grapefruit Boulevard, according to the release.

Another dog who was rescued from Culwell's home is seen in a photo from Animal Services.

Another dog who was rescued from Culwell's home is seen in a photo from Animal Services.

Cisneros also reviewed surveillance video of the incident, which showed a woman exiting a white Jeep and tossing a bag into the dumpster, authorities said.

Officials released the footage on Friday in an attempt to identify a suspect.

The case has been referred to the Riverside County District Attorney's Office, which will decide whether to file charges in the case. Culwell potentially faces up to seven counts of animal cruelty, according to Animal Service.

All of the puppies survived the ordeal and have been placed in foster care. They are being bottled fed by volunteer Noni Boen Schirm.

 

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