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

Parksville wants consultant to examine feasibility of rec centre

Strong demand from residents for a multi-sport facility

Developers withdraw rezoning application for huge Parksville waterfront plan

IAG to create new draft after processing public feedback

Parksville youngsters design problem-solving robot

Lego robotics team gearing up for gold in Victoria competition

Part Three: 10 questions with a Qualicum Beach historian

Local guide shares stories of town’s foundations

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

35 of 87 dogs in 2018 Williams Lake seizure were euthanized due to behavioural issues, BCSPCA confirm

The dogs did not respond to the behaviour modification and remained terrified of humans

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

B.C. MLA calls on province to restrict vaping as first related illness appears in Canada

Todd Stone, Liberal MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson, introduced an anti-vaping bill in April

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

B.C. bus crash survivor petitions feds to fix road where classmates died

UVic student’s petition well over halfway to 5k signature goal

Most Read