A woman has been arrested on suspicion of dumping seven newborn puppies in the trash in the 90F Coachella heat, authorities have confirmed.
Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was held on Monday by Riverside County Animal Services Commander Chris Mayer at her Coachella home.
Culwell is facing up to seven counts of felony animal cruelty, officials said.
Her home contained roughly 30 dogs that needed to be impounded to make sure they were properly fed and cared for at a shelter in Thousand Palms, according to John Welsh of Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
Photos of Culwell’s arrest shows an officer escorting her from her home in handcuffs before she’s placed in the back of a patrol car.
Last Thursday, surveillance footage released by the Riverside County Animal Services showed the woman stepping out of a white Jeep, peering into a dumpster used for recyclables, then dropping the bag filled with the puppies inside.
She then casually walked back to the Jeep and drove away, leaving the puppies to swelter in the heat.
The dogs only survived after being found by a passerby who spotted the bag and took it to a nearby store.
After officials reviewed the surveillance footage from the shop’s security cameras it showed the woman driving into the parking lot near the rear area of the business.
Authorities said the puppies may not have survived the 90-degree heat had they not been found within an hour of being dumped.
Riverside County Animal Service Commander Chris Mayer said: ‘The Good Samaritan played a major role in saving theses puppies’ lives. His actions were humane and heroic.
‘There is no excuse for dumping puppies. 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.’
Mayer said the woman’s actions are despicable and he and his colleagues are communicating with Riverside County Sheriff’s investigators and the District Attorney’s office in building a strong cruelty case.
‘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, told NBC LA.
‘There’s clearly not a level of intelligence that’s going to be used if you’re going to toss animals.’
The puppies are now being cared for at an Orange County rescue shelter.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Valerie Edwards