A 54-year-old Coachella woman was arrested Monday evening in connection with dumping seven 3-day-old puppies into dumpster in back of an auto parts store.
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. #RivCoNOW pic.twitter.com/lPX44RBaGm
— RivCO animalSERVICES (@helpinRIVcoPETS) April 23, 2019
Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was arrested at her Coachella home about 5:30 pm Monday. Culwell is facing up to seven counts of felony animal cruelty.
A #Coachella woman who was caught on video dumping 7 newborn puppies has been arrested. Animal services has recovered at least 11 additional dogs from her backyard. New details on @KESQ at 11 pic.twitter.com/hL4pNxQ4YK
— Lauren Coronado (@KESQLauren) April 23, 2019
The woman’s home contained about 30 dogs, officials with the Riverside County Animal Services told Uken Report. Officials will take the animals to their Thousand Palms shelter to be cared for.
Below is a video and description from Riverside County Animal Services:
FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2019 – A woman dumped a bag of puppies behind an auto parts store in Coachella on Thursday afternoon and now she’s being investigated for animal cruelty.
An employee with a Napa Auto Parts store contacted Riverside County Animal Services after a passerby discovered the bag next to a Dumpster. The store is located at 49251 Grapefruit Blvd. Officer Jose Cisneros responded shortly before 2 p.m. and collected a trash bag, which contained seven puppies. All of the pups were approximately 3 days old and were believed to be terrier mixes.
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.
Officer Cisneros asked an employee at the Napa store if he could review any surveillance footage from the store security’s cameras. The employee allowed the officer to review the footage and he watched one segment that showed a vehicle driving near the rear area of the business.
Just after 1 p.m. on Thursday, a woman in a Jeep pulled up, exited the Jeep carrying a plastic bag in one of her hands and walked toward a Dumpster used for recycling materials. She shut the recycling Dumpster and dropped the clear, plastic bag next in a trash Dumpster and drove away.
Shortly afterward, a passerby, named John, rummaged through the trash and noticed the bag and brought it into the Napa store. If not for the Good Samaritan’s actions, the puppies may not have survived much longer. The mid-day temperatures in Coachella on Thursday were in the mid-90s range.
“The Good Samaritan played a major role in saving theses puppies’ lives,” Commander Chris Mayer said. “His actions were humane and heroic.”
He said the woman’s actions are despicable and he and his colleagues are already communicating with Riverside County Sheriff’s investigators and the District Attorney’s office in building a strong cruelty case.
“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.”