Deborah Culwell, the 54-year-old California woman accused of throwing a bag of newborn puppies into a dumpster in 90-degree heat, reportedly had 38 other dogs in her home.
Culwell was arrested by police in Coachella, California, this week after a viral video allegedly showed her driving up to a garbage dumpster and throwing in a bag filled with terrier mix puppies. As the New York Post reported, police were dispatched to the woman’s home on Monday evening to find it “overrun” with 38 other dogs, which were removed from the residence.
As local officials noted, it appeared that the dogs were not well cared for in the woman’s home. Officials believe that the mother of the days-old puppies was among those seized.
“Most of the dogs appeared to be in somewhat healthy condition, but some were aggressive or fearful,” the Riverside County Department of Animal Services said in a statement. “The house was in a state of disrepair.”
The video showed a woman wearing sunglasses exit a Jeep Wrangler with a closed bag, throwing it into the dumpster before quickly exiting. An employee of a nearby store happened to find the puppies in the dumpster and was able to pull them out before they could be harmed. Local animal officials said that given the high heat, the animals could have been dead within an hour had they been left alone.
Video of the cruel act garnered international attention over the weekend, with many news outlets sharing the video after it had been posted by local police in the hopes of identifying the woman. Officials said they were lucky that the woman was not smart enough to realize she pulled off the act in full view of surveillance cameras.
“You can clearly see the bag of puppies being dumped into the dumpster,” John Welsh, the chief of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, told NBC Los Angeles.
“There’s clearly not a level of intelligence that’s going to be used if you’re going to toss animals.”
It was not clear how police were able to apprehend the suspect, or whether the video itself led to her identification.
The dogs were taken to a nearby animal shelter where they were assessed by veterinarians and are now being cared for, officials said.
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
Deborah Culwell faces seven counts of felony animal cruelty for allegedly tossing the bag of puppies into a dumpster. She is being held in jail on $10,000 bond.