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.
Exclusive video: Woman caught on camera allegedly dumping puppies into Coachella dumpster in 90-degree weather arrested on animal abuse charges. @TonyNBCLA reports: https://t.co/OgHQ1QdONB pic.twitter.com/Gz163639dC
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) April 23, 2019
Fortunately, a store employee called animal services after a passerby discovered the terrier mixes, 15-minutes after Sulwell dove off.
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 clarified that the person who spotted the puppies was just as complicit as Culwell.
Not heroic. He left them in a less dangerous place without asking anyone for help and he didn’t even open the bag so they can get oxygen.
— Daniel Guss (@TheGussReport) April 23, 2019
Someone shopping at the auto parts store who got help from the local pound, and then a 501(c)(3) which is handling bottle feeding. It is in all local coverage.
— Daniel Guss (@TheGussReport) April 23, 2019
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 heatless woman in action.
UPDATE: Three days after authorities released surveillance footage showing an unidentified woman dumping puppies in Coachella, California, Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, is facing felony animal cruelty charges, with more than 30 other dogs recovered in her home. https://t.co/4jc8BjWv9n pic.twitter.com/j0pSQeJ8IK
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) April 23, 2019
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.”
More disturbingly, Sulwell was harboring nearly 40 dogs in her home that Welsh described was “in a state of despair.” All the dogs at the Sulwell 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.”
— Jeremy Chen (@JeremyChenKESQ) April 24, 2019
UPDATE: 38 dogs rescued from inside a home in Coachella. The same home where Deborah Sue Culwell was arrested yesterday on animal cruelty charges for dumping 7 puppies in a dumpster. https://t.co/I37emiTy2d
— Stone (@stonecold2050) April 23, 2019
Makes me wonder how many other goons are doing the same dumb shit. Animals aren’t something to hoard and they aren’t trash. People like this are trash. If they free this woman, she will most likely do the same shit. LET HER SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES OF HER ACTIONS!
— Spence_ahh (@stillalefty) April 23, 2019
Riverside County Department of Animal Services 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 abanonment.
People were relieved that justice is being served and that the puppies are alive and well at a local rescue group.
So glad she got her ass caught. Just a terrible person. Got a lot of karma coming her way
— Jayk Purdy (@jaykpurdy) April 23, 2019
Put Deborah Sue Culwell in the TRASH
— Wait…IT WAS BACKWARDS?! (@clowchan) April 24, 2019
— Nancy Mitchell (@NancyWonderful) April 24, 2019
I’m SO happy she’s been arrested!!!!
— Momma One (@Fozzie4me) April 23, 2019
A volunteer is taking care of them…they’re doing good
— noneya (@66lizzys) April 23, 2019
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.
Sulwell remains under custody with a $10,000 bail and is scheduled for her first court appearance at the Justice Center on Thursday morning.
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