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Woman Arrested For Tossing Puppies In Coachella Dumpster Had 38 Dogs In Her Home

@NBCLA/Twitter, @MarkGarrison1/Twitter

A woman was arrested for the worst act of animal cruelty on Monday after dumping seven newborn puppies into a dumpster.

Surveillance footage from an auto parts store in Coachella, California, identified Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, as the culprit. The camera captured her exiting a white jeep on Thursday and tossing the living pups like trash before driving away.

It was 90 degrees that afternoon, and the puppies were sealed inside a plastic bag and left to die in the scorching heat.

Fortunately, a store employee called Animal Services after a passerby discovered the terrier mixes, 15 minutes after Culwell drove away.

The newborn puppies were tiny enough to require being bottle-fed, according to NBC News. Thankfully, they are all thriving.

One user wanted to acknowledge the unidentified vagrant who alerted the store employee about the discarded animals, but animal lover Daniel Guss felt the person who spotted the puppies was just as complicit as Culwell.

However, officials believe that had the homeless man not notified store employees about his find after digging around in the trash, the animals would not have survived in the heat. “That guy is a hero in our mind,” said John Welsh, the public informations officer for Animal Services.

Here is footage from the surveillance camera capturing the heartless woman in action.

Riverside County Animal Services Commander Chris Mayer issued a statement, saying there is “no excuse for dumping puppies.”

“Especially in today’s age when we or other shelters would be willing to get these animals to foster parents or rescue partners.”

Cmdr. Chris Mayer arrested Culwell for seven suspected felony charges of animal cruelty after securing an arrest warrant.

She is behind bars in Indio and additionally faces seven misdemeanor charges of animal abandonment.

More disturbingly, Culwell was harboring nearly 40 dogs in her home that Welsh described was “in a state of despair.” All the dogs at the Culwell residence were impounded, seven of which were pregnant.

Welsh explained why the dogs were impounded.

“We were uncertain who would care for the dogs after she was arrested, so we were forced to impound all 38.”

People were relieved that justice is being served and that the puppies are alive and well at a local rescue group.


Buzzfeed News reported that the mother of the seven abandoned puppies may have been among the 38 impounded dogs.

“Animal Services will determine whether a reunion can be coordinated,” said a press release.

Culwell remains under custody with a $10,000 bail and is scheduled for her first court appearance at the Justice Center on Thursday morning.


Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1