Deborah Sue Culwell has been arrested on charges of animal cruelty after she was identified as the woman who was recently caught on surveillance video allegedly dumping a bag containing seven three-day-old puppies in a dumpster located near an auto parts store in Coachella, California.
The video quickly went viral after it was posted online by River Riverside County Animal Services.
This woman was caught throwing a bag of 3-day-old puppies into a Coachella dumpster pic.twitter.com/dnWc2EvswH
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) April 22, 2019
A passerby named John found the puppies while rummaging through the bins. The puppies were fortunate to survive because temperatures were high at the time, and they might have suffocated if John had not found them within minutes after they were dumped.
#BREAKING: @helpinRIVcoPETS confirms to @KNX1070 a Coachella woman who is supected of tossing a bag full of #Puppies into a dumpster has been arrested. Approximately 30 additional dogs were found at her home when she was taken into custody. pic.twitter.com/YWWNnUc3tO
— Cooper Rummell (@KNXCooper) April 23, 2019
The video below shows the moment that Culwell was arrested after police looked at the surveillance footage and identified her.
— Tony Shin (@TonyNBCLA) April 23, 2019
Who is Deborah Sue Culwell?
Many people from Coachella saw the video on social media and recognized her. Some took to Twitter to reveal that they knew her but it was not clear if any of the people contacted police or helped investigators to identify and locate her.
One of the first Twitter users to identify her tweeted the message below:
If people would just listen to me , she’d be incarcerated already … I’m still confident this is the animal abuser… everyone will see sooner or later, don’t say I didn’t warn everyone 😂🐶 ps: I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t know my ability to find these menaces to society https://t.co/p0fMz4YkYV
— MAGEAN WARNOCK (@MageanWarnock) April 22, 2019
Culwell is 54 years old
By Monday, police investigators had confirmed that the woman in the video was 54-year-old Deborah Sue Culwell. They also confirmed that the white Jeep she drives in the video actually belonged to a friend, according to Heavy.
Police found 38 other dogs in her house
News Channel 3 (KESQ.com) reports that officers found 38 other dogs at Culwell’s house when they went to arrest her. Chris Mayer, commander of field operations for Riverside County Animal Services, told KESQ that all the dogs found at Culwell’s home have been impounded.
UPDATE: 38 dogs rescued from inside a home in Coachella. The same home where Deborah Sue Culwell was arrested earlier today on animal cruelty charges for dumping 7 puppies in a dumpster on Friday. See our full report at 11 on KESQ and CBS Local 2. pic.twitter.com/k4Q3Ee91sF
— Karen Devine (@KarenDevineKESQ) April 23, 2019
“We’re impounding them because there’s nobody here to take care of them and there’s a lot of them in a small residence and it’s just not good living conditions.” he said.
A #Coachella woman who was caught on video dumping 7 newborn puppies has been arrested. Animal services has recovered at least 11 additional dogs from her backyard. New details on @KESQ at 11 pic.twitter.com/hL4pNxQ4YK
— Lauren Coronado (@KESQLauren) April 23, 2019
She was put into custody at the Indio Larson Justice Center
Culwell lives on Third Street in Coachella, California, according to KESQ.com. She was reportedly put into custody at the Indio Larson Justice Center, Riverside County, California, and her bail was set at $10,000.
Culwell was previously convicted in 2011 on fraud and drug charges
Culwell was convicted in 2011 on fraud, receiving stolen property and drug charges, according to Heavy.com. The fraud and drug cases involved the forgery or alteration of a check, receiving stolen property and being in possession of controlled substances.
Additional charges of receiving stolen property, forging a signature, defrauding people and being in possession of drug paraphernalia were reportedly dropped.
Culwell was sentenced to 120 days in prison and 36 months of probation. She was also reportedly required to pay restitution
Culwell is expected to charged with seven felony counts of animal cruelty
TMZ is reporting that Culwell is expected to be charged in her current animal cruelty case with seven misdemeanor counts of abandoning an animal and seven felony (one for each puppy) counts of animal cruelty.
Deborah Sue Culwell faces up to seven years in jail if found guilty on all counts. Her previous criminal record makes it more likely that she will face the maximum penalty if convicted.