A woman who was caught tossing seven puppies into a dumpster in Coachella, California, has been sentenced time behind bars.
Deborah Sue Culwell was given a sentence of just one year — including six years probation following her custodial sentence — and was reduced to 174 days with credit for time served.
The 54-year-old was charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty as well as seven demeanor counts of abandoning dogs — all of which she pled guilty to.
Originally, Culwell was facing seven years in prison. Culwell also must undergo random drug testing and complete mental health counseling.
Additionally, she is banned from owning or possessing any animals until her probation time is up.
Surveillance footage captured Culwell dumping a bag of puppies in a dumpster behind an auto parts store in Coachella on April 18th.
Shared by the Riverside County Animal Services, video footage reveals the woman getting back into her white Jeep and driving away — abandoning the newborns in the heat.
After noticing the bag Culwell shoved into the dumpster, a passerby named John let the store know which then contacted the authorities.
The young dogs were then collected by officers from the animal services who estimated the pups to be around three days old and were terrier mixes. Unfortunately, one of the puppies died after not fully recovering from the traumatizing incident.
Riverside County Animal Services wrote on Facebook the following:
“Unfortunately, we have learned one of the dumped puppies has died. The very kind foster volunteer contacted us last night and shared the bad news. She said she believes the runt of litter just could not make a comeback. She said the little one might have been on the bottom of the bag when the woman dumped the puppies into a trash bin and, possibly, just never recovered from that traumatic moment.”
An animal services volunteer added:
“The little one might have been on the bottom of the bag when the woman dumped the puppies into a trash bin. He was just so weak and held on for as long as he could. When I got him he was pale and kind of flat looking, so I think he was the cushion that saved his siblings. As the lady threw them in the bag, I think he was at the bottom and took the hit when all of his siblings landed on him.”
When she was arrested, Culwell was reported to have had 38 other dogs in her custody.