Woman Who Dumped A Litter Of Newborn Puppies In A Dumpster Gets A Year In Jail

Deborah Sue Culwell pleaded guilty to animal abuse and animal abandonment for leaving a bag of 3-day-old terrier mixes in the trash behind a Coachella auto parts store on a dangerously hot day.

By Gina Tron

A Southern California woman who tossed a bag of seven newborn puppies into a recycling bin before going on with her day, will serve a year behind bars for animal cruelty.

Deborah Sue Culwell, of Coachella, pleaded guilty to seven felony animal cruelty counts and seven misdemeanor animal abandonment charges, according to the Desert Sun.

She was sentenced to 365 days in county jail. Of the year-long sentence, 90 days will be served under a work release. She will also be on probation for seven years. She will no longer be allowed to have pets.

Her sentence has sparked both relief and sadness.

“I think we were a little sad that she didn’t get more than a year of jail time," Janeen Bahr, president of the nonprofit Society’s OutKasts Animal Rescue, told the Desert Sun. "But on the other hand, when you look at what’s going on in the world today and the penal system, we’re probably lucky we got any jail time at all.”

Five of Culwell's dogs were placed at that animal rescue center. A least one of the seven died as a result of the traumatic incident.

Deborah Sue Culwell

Surveillance footage from an auto parts store in Coachella, California showed Culwell pull up to a set of dumpsters behind the store and discard a plastic bag full of 3-day-old terrier mixes, Riverside County Animal Services said in a press release around the time of her arrest. It was about 90 degrees out when the dogs were dumped.

When she was arrested, animal services said they discovered she lived with 38 dogs, the agency said in another press release

Those dogs were reportedly turned over to local rescue groups.

Deborah Sue Culwell
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