On Monday, the woman suspected of dumping seven newborn puppies into a dumpster located behind a store in Coachella, California, was arrested.
When authorities went to the run-down home of Deborah Sue Culwell to take her into custody, they found another 38 dogs, ABC 7 reports.
All the dogs had to be impounded since Culwell is still the owner of the animals, the outlet noted, and “are now being cared for at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.”
It’s unclear if the mother of the seven puppies thrown into the dumpster was recovered at Culwell’s home. “It would be a guessing game,” said Animal Services Officer Jose Cisneros.
“The dogs are mainly small terrier mixes that range in age from adult to 3 months old. They appear to be in general good health, despite the conditions they were living in,” ABC 7 notes.
Surveillance footage shows a woman, allegedly Culwell, throwing a sac of three-day-old puppies into a dumpster located behind a NAPA Auto Parts store.
“An employee with a Napa Auto Parts store contacted Riverside County Animal Services after a passerby discovered the bag next to a dumpster,” explained a social media post from the Riverside County Animal Services Department.
“Officer Jose Cisneros responded shortly before 2 P.M. and collected a trash bag, which contained seven puppies. All of the pups were approximately three days old and were believed to be terrier mixes,” the department said, adding, “Animal Services’ veterinary team members cared for the puppies and lined up a rescue group partner organization to take over bottle feeding duties.”
Thankfully, a Good Samaritan spotted the puppies and likely saved their lives just in the nick of time.
“Shortly afterward, a passerby, named John, rummaged through the trash and noticed the bag and brought it into the Napa store,” the department said.
“The Good Samaritan played a major role in saving these puppies’ lives,” said Commander Chris Mayer. “His actions were humane and heroic.”
“If not for the Good Samaritan’s actions, the puppies may not have survived much longer,” he added. “The mid-day temperatures in Coachella on Thursday were in the mid-90s range.”
According to Mayer, “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,” noted the Riverside County Animal Services Department.
“There is no excuse for dumping puppies,” the commander 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.”
Culwell, who has a lengthy rap sheet, is now facing faces up to seven counts of animal cruelty and misdemeanor animal abandonment charges, and is currently being held on $10,000 bail.