More than two dozen dogs seized from the home of a Coachella woman suspected of trying to kill seven puppies found inside a dumpster are up for adoption — though the puppies themselves are not — officials said Friday.
According to Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh, 31 of the 38 dogs impounded last week during an animal cruelty investigation at the Third Street residence of 54-year-old Deborah Sue Culwell have been spayed and neutered, received vaccinations, and are ready for a loving home.
The canines are housed at the Western Riverside County Animal Shelter in Jurupa Valley. Six of the 38 have behavior problems that will require special attention. They’re bound for the Mary S. Roberts Pet Adoption Center in Riverside, while another confiscated pet remains at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms, awaiting boarding by a nonprofit animal rescue group, Welsh said.
The terrier mixes range from 1 to 5 years old, and many are skittish, with little leash or obedience training, according to Welsh.
As for the six puppies that survived the trauma allegedly inflicted by Culwell, they will remain under the supervision of foster volunteer until old enough to be placed for adoption, Welsh said, noting that “people were knocking down our doors for these dogs.”
Culwell surrendered custody of all the dogs a week ago.
She was arrested April 22 on suspicion of felony animal cruelty and posted a $10,000 bond the next day, spending only hours at the Indio Jail.
The suspect allegedly threw the seven bagged puppies into a recycling bin behind a Napa Auto Parts store at 49251 Grapefruit Blvd. on April 18.
The runt of the bunch died a few days later.
Security surveillance video from the store showed Culwell allegedly exiting her Jeep with a plastic bag and depositing the bag in the bin.
A passerby rummaged through the dumpster about 15 minutes later and found the squealing puppies cinched in the bag, which he quickly took into the air-conditioned store. As the mercury climbed above 90 degrees, Welsh said he doubted the newborns would have survived very long without the intercession.
The surviving puppies have not been reunited with their mother, and it is unclear which dog gave birth to the puppies since several females seized from Culwell’s property recently had litters. Culwell also said the pups were from two separate litters, according to Welsh.
The Department of Animal Services has submitted a request to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office for seven animal cruelty charges to be filed against Culwell. If convicted, she could face up to six years in jail.
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