A 54-year-old woman has been arrested for dumping seven newborn puppies into a Coachella dumpster and leaving them to die.
The puppies, believed to be 3-day-old terrier mixes, may not have survived the 90-degree heat for more than an hour in the dumpster had they not been found by a “Good Samaritan” who has been described by authorities as “heroic”.
The suspect, Deborah Sue Culwell, is facing up to seven counts of felony animal cruelty, officials said.
According to ABC7, Culwell’s 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.
The woman was seen stepping out of a white Jeep, peering into a dumpster used for recyclables, then dropping the bag filled with the puppies into a pile of trash behind Napa Auto Parts in Coachella Thursday before driving away.
A man who rummaged through the dumpster shortly afterward spotted the bag and took it to the store, an act officials say saved the puppies lives.
“The good Samaritan played a major role in saving theses puppies’ lives,” Riverside County Animal Service Commander Chris Mayer said. “His actions were humane and heroic.”
The man left the bag outside the auto parts store where somebody could find the puppies — and a customer did.
“I noticed the bag on the floor, and they were tied up in the bag, so I immediately opened the bag a little further and I proceeded to call animal services to see what I could do with them because I couldn’t leave them there,” said the customer, who didn’t want to be identified.
Authorities said the puppies, believed to be 3-day-old terrier mixes, may not have survived the 90-degree heat had they not been found within an hour of being dumped.
Riverside County Animal Service is working with Riverside County Sheriff’s investigators and the District Attorney’s office in building a cruelty case against the woman accused of discarding them.
The puppies are now being cared for at a rescue organization.
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