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Woman charged after abandoning puppies in dumpster

by Brianna Bush - Lifestyles Editor
Tue, Apr 30th 2019 10:00 pm
heartless Deborah Sue Culwell, was caught on surveillance camera throwing seven newborn puppies in a dumpster near Coachella. When authorities responded to her house, they found over 30 dogs in unsafe conditions.
heartless Deborah Sue Culwell, was caught on surveillance camera throwing seven newborn puppies in a dumpster near Coachella. When authorities responded to her house, they found over 30 dogs in unsafe conditions.


Every year around this time, California’s famous Coachella festival takes place. The music festival usually involves moving from venue to venue, dressing to impress and taking Instagram-worthy pictures.

People come from all over the planet for its music and more. This year however, an unfortunate event occurred that broke the hearts of many festival goers, and those around the world.

On Thursday, April 18 security cameras caught 54-year-old Deborah Sue Culwell throwing seven newborn puppies into a dumpster behind a NAPA Auto Parts store in Coachella, California. The temperature at the time was 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The video showed Culwell getting out of a vehicle, then proceeding to put a sealed plastic bag containing seven puppies, into the dumpster. 

According to CBS News, the puppies were found within a 15-minute window by a man going through the garbage looking for recyclable materials. The man brought the puppies around to the front of the store to be found by a separate man who then took the puppies to the authorities.

Due to the puppies’ young age, they would have likely died of suffocation if they were in the dumpster for any longer. Many people took to social media to voice their opinions about the “heartless” woman who threw away her puppies.

One Facebook user, Elizabeth Martinez Felix, stated “You got caught!!!! Yes Yes Yes justice for these precious angels!!!” 

One police officer identified Culwell by the license plate of her vehicle, and a team of officers and animal rescuers were sent to her house.

 They were horrified to find 38 dogs living in complete filth in a “state of despair.” According to NBC Los Angeles, the dogs looked healthy enough but were easily startled and aggressive. 

Culwell was arrested on seven counts of felony animal cruelty and is being held at Indio Jail on a $10,000 bail.

According to heavy.com, a news site based in New York City, court reports also show that she has been found guilty of forging a check or a bill prior to being arrested for animal cruelty. She was sentenced to 36 months of probation and 120 days of jail time, but had completed most of her sentence through a county work release program.

The Riverside County Department of Animal Services officers worked until 8 p.m. on Monday, April 22 rounding up the dogs that were “overrunning the house.” The animal control officers are looking to try and reunite the puppies with the mother dog, which they believe is among those they have impounded from the home.

The other dogs, besides the puppies, are not yet up for adoption, but the Riverside County Department of Animal Service is hopeful they will be soon. The department will have behavior specialist and other trainers working with the dogs so they can make their way to a better home. 

Commenting on the abandonment of the puppies, animal services Commander Chris Mayer expanded on the issue of animal cruelty.

“There is no excuse for dumping puppies,” Mayer said.  “Especially in today’s age when we or other shelters would be willing to foster parents or rescue partners. This was a shameful act.”

Animal cruelty and abandonment has always been an issue in the United States, but on average 6.5 million animals enter shelters every year according to the ASPCA. 

Unfortunately, around 1.5 million of those animals are euthanized. On the upside, the number of animals entering shelters has declined since 2011, where numbers reached 7.2 million a year entering a shelter.

There are many things that people can do to help animals on the streets or to help people who cannot handle the pressures of keeping a pet. Organizations like the ASPCA, the Humane Society and many other organizations work to make sure pets are well taken care of and, hopefully, end up in an adequate and safe home.

As human beings we need to stop treating these innocent animals the way we do. People should come to the realization that they are not fit to have a pet so incidents like this do not occur again.

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Taken by Vincent Croce:
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