Riverside County

38 Dogs Removed From Suspected Puppy Dumper’s Coachella Home

Most of the dogs appeared to be somewhat healthy, but some were aggressive or fearful, animal services said

Warning: These images may be disturbing to some viewers. 

Thirty-eight dogs were confiscated Monday evening from a suspected puppy dumper's home in Riverside County, animal services said.

The discovery of dozens of dogs living in a "state of disrepair" comes after 54-year-old Deborah Sue Culwell was arrested Monday on animal abuse charges after allegedly leaving seven puppies in a dumpster in the Southern California heat. 

Culwell stayed silent as officers led her away from her Coachella home in handcuffs. She faces seven counts of felony animal abuse.

Deputies say she's the suspect seen in surveillance video shoving seven newborn puppies that were only days old into a dumpster behind an auto-parts store on April 18 in Coachella in 90-degree heat. Investigators said they identified her through a license plate number on her white Jeep also seen in the surveillance video.

Fortunately, good Samaritans came to the rescue after a homeless man heard the puppies crying.

The puppies, so young they have to be bottle fed, are being cared for at a foster home.

"You can clearly see the bag of puppies being dumped into the dumpster," said John Welsh, the chief of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services. "There's clearly not a level of intelligence that's going to be used if you're going to toss animals."

Animal control officers worked until past 8 p.m. on Monday because Culwell's "house was overrun with other dogs," according to animal services officials. Thirty-eight dogs were confiscated from the home and taken to the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.

Riverside County Department of Animal Services

"Most of the dogs appeared to be in somewhat healthy condition, but some were aggressive or fearful," animal services said in a news release. 

A woman is in custody after being accused of dumping a plastic bag full of live puppies into a dumpster. Tony Shin reports for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Monday, April 22, 2019.

The dogs are not available for adoption at this time. Animal services is looking into whether a reunion can be coordinated because the mother dog of the dumped puppies may be among the dogs impounded. 

Riverside County Department of Animal Services

Animal services is planning to submit a felony case to the Riverside County district attorney's office. 

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