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

RCMP release sketch of Radley Beach assault suspect

The RCMP released on Oct. 22 a sketch of a man believed… Continue reading

Power outages affect almost 1,300 on Southside

Almost 1,300 BC Hydro customers on the Southside have been without power… Continue reading

Skeena-Bulkley Valley once again goes NDP

Smithers mayor Taylor Bachrach set to follow in Nathan Cullen’s footsteps

Trudeau has won the most seats — but not a majority. What happens next?

Trudeau will have to deal with some of the implications of Monday’s result

LIVE MAP: Results in Canada’s 2019 federal election

Polls are now closed across the country

Scheer says Canada more divided than ever, as NDP and Bloc hold cards close

While Liberals were shut out of two key prairie provinces, they took two-thirds of the seats in Ontario

Horvat’s hat trick lifts Canucks to 5-2 win over Red Wings

First career three-goal game for Vancouver captain

Saanich Gulf-Islands’s Elizabeth May coy about leadership plans

The federal Green party leader talks possibility of running as MP without being leader

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

Most Read