COACHELLA—Authorities arrested Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, on Monday, April 22 at her home in Coachella, after she tossed a litter of puppies in a dumpster. Culwell has been charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty.
On April 18, a man by the name of John was rummaging through the trash behind a Napa Auto Parts shop located at 49251 Grapefruit Blvd. in Coachella, when he heard the cries of puppies coming from a sealed bag. He rescued the seven puppies and delivered them to a local rescue group. The terrier mixed puppies were only three days old when they were discovered in the dumpster.
Animal Services’ veterinary team members cared for the puppies and lined up a rescue group partner organization to take over bottle feeding duties. MeoowzResQ, a Southern California-based organization specializing in kitten and cat rescue and fostering, agreed to accept the pups. The puppies were dehydrated and malnourished, but are being nursed back to health.
Riverside County Animal Services posted surveillance footage of the suspect who was seen driving a white Jeep Wrangler, at the time she dumped the puppies in the trash. The video shows Culwell driving up to a row of dumpsters and dumping the puppies.
Upon inspection of Culwell’s home, officials confiscated a total of 38 dogs.
The Riverside County Department of Animal Services posted the following message on their Twitter page:
“Commander Chris Mayer arrested a woman this afternoon on suspicion of felony animal cruelty for the incident involving the alleged puppy dumping in Coachella. More info to follow on our official Website.”
“The Good Samaritan played a major role in saving theses puppies’ lives,” said Commander Chris Mayer. “His actions were humane and heroic.”
The Riverside County Sheriff’s investigators and the District Attorney’s office are building a strong case of animal cruelty against Culwell.
“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.”