This booking photo released by Riverside County Animal Services on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, shows Deborah Sue Culwell. The California woman could face up to seven years behind bars on a slew of charges filed Tuesday after authorities say surveillance video showed her casually tossing a bag of 3-day-old, palm-sized puppies into a trash can on a sweltering day. (Riverside County Animal Services via AP)

California woman charged with dumping puppies in trash

A man heard the puppies crying in the trash and rescued them from 90 degree heat

A California woman could face up to seven years behind bars on a slew of charges filed Tuesday after authorities say surveillance video showed her casually tossing a bag of 3-day-old puppies into a trash can on a sweltering day.

Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was charged with seven felony counts of injuring the palm-sized puppies and seven misdemeanour counts of abandoning them.

The puppies’ mother may have been among 38 dogs found inside Culwell’s home following her arrest and authorities were determining whether a reunion would be possible, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.

Though most of the 38 dogs in the home appeared to be “somewhat healthy,” some were aggressive or fearful, the agency said, adding that the house was in a state of disrepair.

READ MORE: Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

The case drew national attention after surveillance video showed a woman dropping a bag with the puppies into the trash Thursday before taking off in a Jeep Wrangler. Authorities posted the video to social media to help track her down, but they ultimately found Culwell based on a search of the Jeep’s plate number.

It’s unclear if Culwell has an attorney. Her number is unlisted.

Video of the arrest shows Culwell being led from her home as a reporter with KNBC-TV peppers her with questions such as, “Why would you throw those puppies away like trash?” and “Do you have anything to say about your actions?”

A handcuffed Culwell remained silent as she was taken from her home in Coachella, a desert city about 130 miles (210 kilometres) east of Los Angeles.

The five male and two female puppies, believed to be terrier mixes, survived after spending about an hour inside a plastic bag in the dumpster, which was open. A man heard them crying and took the puppies to a nearby store, where an employee called authorities.

“If not for the good Samaritan’s actions, the puppies may not have survived much longer,” the animal services agency said in a news release, adding that temperatures in the area had reached the mid-90s on Thursday.

READ MORE: Police dog in Oregon struck by 200 porcupine quills during pursuit

The pups were dehydrated and malnourished and are being cared for by a volunteer who is bottle-feeding them. The volunteer, Noni Boen, posted a video of the puppies cuddling and mewling on Monday, saying they had just been fed and returned to their nap pile.

“There is no excuse for dumping puppies,” Chris Mayer, commander of animal services, said in a statement. “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.”

Amanda Lee Myers, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

ABBA hits grace Mamma Mia! for a joyous occasion

Plenty of buzz heading into musical production at the Chemainus Theatre

Public meeting being held on future of old Crofton Elementary School site

Cowichan Valley School District will hear proposals at information session May 30

Chemainus Secondary’s Bannister burns up the track for 100 and 200 metre wins

Competitors way behind in both junior girls races at the Island high school championships

North Cowichan council denies rezoning bid for cannabis outlet in Chemainus

Site on Chemainus Road deemed too close to spaces frequented by youth

Father’s anguish remains three years after son’s murder in Chemainus

Derek Descoteau remembered as a young man with such a great future ahead

Rescuers finally persuade Eiffel Tower climber to come down

The official said the man was ‘under control and out of danger’ on Monday night

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Federal government funds millions to help B.C. police spot drugged driving

Many police departments have expressed wariness about using the only government-approved roadside test

Judge: Mississippi 6-week abortion ban ‘smacks of defiance’

The new law would prohibit most abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected

Oil companies, 24-cent gap between B.C., Alberta to be focus of gas price probe

Premier John Horgan called the spike in gas prices ‘alarming’

Motorcycle deaths spike 50% since 2017

Riders were most likely fatally crash on the weekends compared with the rest of the week

Mother of accused charged in death of Surrey teen girl found in torched SUV

Manjit Kaur Deo charged with ‘accessory after the fact’ in 2017 death of Surrey teen

Most Read