Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was arrested after authorities traced the licence plate on her Jeep Wrangler. Picture: Facebook
Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was arrested after authorities traced the licence plate on her Jeep Wrangler. Picture: Facebook

Woman who binned pups arrested, 38 dogs seized

A WOMAN has been arrested on animal cruelty charges just days after footage of her allegedly tossing a bagful of newborn puppies into the trash went viral.

Authorities in California arrested Deborah Sue Culwell on Tuesday after surveillance video captured her dumping the helpless animals into a recycling bin last Thursday when temperatures reached a sweltering 35 degrees.

The 54-year-old was charged with seven counts of injuring the puppies and seven counts of abandoning them. If convicted she faces up to seven years in prison.

 

The sickening moment a woman identified as Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, tosses a bag of newborn puppies into the trash. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services
The sickening moment a woman identified as Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, tosses a bag of newborn puppies into the trash. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

 

A handcuffed Culwell is led from her home in Coachella by an animal services officer. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services
A handcuffed Culwell is led from her home in Coachella by an animal services officer. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

 

Culwell enjoys a night on the town in this photo posted to her social media. Picture: Facebook
Culwell enjoys a night on the town in this photo posted to her social media. Picture: Facebook

 

 

Footage of the horrible act, released by the Riverside County Department of Animal Services (RCDAS), made international headlines, but ultimately, authorities were able to track down the woman via the licence plate on her Jeep Wrangler.

"There is no excuse for dumping puppies," Animal Services commander Chris Mayer 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."

But the story doesn't end there. When officers turned up at Culwell's home in Coachella, the desert city known for its annual music festival of the same name, they found 38 more dogs languishing in filthy conditions.

 

The seven puppies, now around 10 days old, sleep after a volunteer bottle-fed them milk. Picture: Riverside County Animal Services via AP
The seven puppies, now around 10 days old, sleep after a volunteer bottle-fed them milk. Picture: Riverside County Animal Services via AP

 

Deborah Sue Culwell’s filthy home where authorities seized 38 more dogs. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services
Deborah Sue Culwell’s filthy home where authorities seized 38 more dogs. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

 

Culwell’s home was in a state of disrepair. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services
Culwell’s home was in a state of disrepair. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

 

 

The RCDAS said it was likely one of them had given birth to the seven binned pups and hoped to reunite the mother with her babies.

Though most of the 38 dogs in the home appeared to be "somewhat healthy," some were aggressive or fearful, the agency said, adding the house was in a state of disrepair.

Video of the arrest shows a silent and stony-faced Culwell being led from her home in handcuffs as a TV reporter 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?"

 

This dog and 37 others found in Culwell’s home have been rescued. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services
This dog and 37 others found in Culwell’s home have been rescued. Picture: Riverside County Department of Animal Services

 

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, known only as "John", 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 agency said in a statement.

The pups were dehydrated and malnourished and are being cared for by volunteer Noni Boen who is bottle-feeding them.

Ms Boen posted a video of the puppies cuddling and mewling on Monday, saying they had just been fed and returned to their nap pile.


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