Coachella puppies dumped: Woman out on bail after being charged with 7 felony counts of animal cruelty

COACHELLA, Calif. -- A 54-year-old woman has been released on bail after being arrested on suspicion of leaving a bag of seven newborn puppies in a dumpster behind an auto parts store in Coachella, according to online records.

Deborah Sue Culwell was arrested Monday and charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty in the incident, which investigators say was captured on surveillance video. Her bail was set at $10,000.

According to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, Culwell was released from custody Tuesday and is scheduled to appear in court on June 18 at the Indio Larson Justice Center.

VIDEO: Man finds, rescues bag of newborn puppies abandoned in hot Coachella dumpster by woman
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Video obtained by Eyewitness News on Monday shows the moments a man discovered seven newborn puppies abandoned in a dumpster behind a Coachella store.


She was arrested at her Coachella home after investigators used the surveillance footage to identify her by her license plate, the county's Department of Animal Services said.

The abandoned puppies, believed to be three days old at the time, were rescued by a good Samaritan who spotted the bag and took it into the store. The pups were placed in foster care, where a volunteer has been bottle-feeding them.

Authorities found 38 other dogs at Culwell's home and impounded them.

"Most of the dogs appeared to be in somewhat healthy condition, but some were aggressive or fearful," the county said in a statement, adding that the "house was in a state of disrepair."
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