A woman who was arrested this week on suspicion of tossing a bag of newborn puppies near a dumpster in Coachella, California, has had 38 other dogs impounded from her home, according to authorities.
Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was arrested by Riverside County Animal Services Commander Chris Mayer on April 22 for leaving the puppies in the 90-degree Coachella heat.
Surveillance footage was used to identify Culwell by her license plate after she threw the dogs in the trash.
Following Culwell’s arrest, animal control officers discovered 38 dogs at her Coachella home, which they say was “overrun with dogs and in a state of despair,” Daily Mail reported.
Alarming photographs show the distressed dogs sheltering under damaged furniture and hiding in corners.
John Welsh, spokesman for the animal services group said Culwell could face up to seven counts of felony animal cruelty.
“We were uncertain who would care for the dogs after she was arrested, so we were forced to impound all 38,” Welsh told Buzzfeed News.
“The house was overrun with other dogs. The house was in a state of despair,” he added.
Animal Services Impounded 38 Dogs From The Home Of The Woman Arrested For Dumping Puppies In The Trash https://t.co/oPuCiifpAv
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) April 23, 2019
While most of the dogs appeared to be in a “healthy condition,” some were “aggressive or fearful,” the organization noted in a press release, adding that they have since been taken to Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms.
The group believes the mother of the dumped puppies—believed to be terrier mixes—may have been impounded from Culwell’s home, and it is looking to reunite them.
“Animal Services will determine whether a reunion can be coordinated,” the group said.
Surveillance footage released on April 19 shows Culwell getting out of a white Jeep at the dumpster of an auto parts store and throwing a plastic bag containing the puppies into the trash.
The dumped dogs were believed to have been just 3 days old when they were discovered in the dumpster on April 18, by a man named John, who heard them crying.
He immediately took the dogs to an auto body shop nearby and has been hailed by the Department of Animal Services for saving their lives.
The puppies may not have survived more than an hour after being dumped in the sweltering heat, the organization said.
Chris Mayer, Animal Services commander, said on their website, “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,” he said.
“This was a shameful act.”
“You can clearly see the bag of puppies being dumped into the dumpster. There’s clearly not a level of intelligence that’s going to be used if you’re going to toss animals,” Welsh told NBC LA.
As the dogs are considered “confiscated animals” they are not currently available for adoption.