Woman who allegedly threw 7 newborn puppies into Southern California dumpster arrested

/ CBS/AP

Coachella, Calif. — A woman has been arrested for allegedly throwing a bag containing seven newborn puppies into a Southern California dumpster.

Riverside County Animal Services arrested 54-year-old Deborah Culwell on Monday at her Coachella home, reports CBS Los Angeles.

Surveillance video showed a woman get out of a car and drop a bag containing the pups into a dumpster behind an auto parts store on Thursday.

Investigators say the bag was sealed and cavalierly tossed into the bin, causing Animal Services to term the case one of "willful act of animal cruelty," according to CBS L.A.

Woman is seen in still from surveillance video tossing bag with 7 newborn puppies into dumpster in Coachella, Calif.; authorities identified her as Deborah Culwell CBS Los Angeles

A man rummaging for recyclables found the dogs within an hour.

"The Good Samaritan played a major role in saving these puppies' lives," Riverside County Animal Service Commander Chris Mayer said. "His actions were humane and heroic."

If they had not been found as quickly as they were, the puppies wouldn't have survived much longer in the 90-degree heat, Riverside County Animal Services said.

"There is no excuse for dumping puppies," Mayer said. "Especially in today's age when we or other shelters would be willing to get these animals to foster parents or rescue partners. This was a shameful act."

All seven 3-day-old terrier mix puppies survived and were being cared for by a Southern California-based rescue organization.

Authorities say they found 30 more dogs at Culwell's home, way more than allowed without a kennel permit, Riverside County Animal Services chief John Welsh told CBS News. They were impounded and will be cared for at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, he said. Welch had no information about their condition.

Culwell faces up to seven counts of felony animal cruelty, Welsh added.

She remained jailed. It was unclear whether she had an attorney.

First published on April 23, 2019 / 4:58 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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