A woman caught on a surveillance camera in Coachella, California, throwing seven newborn puppies next to a dumpster has been sentenced to a year in jail.
Deborah Sue Culwell will also serve seven years of probation, during which time she won’t be permitted to own any animals, the Desert Sun reported.
Culwell pleaded guilty Wednesday in Riverside County Superior Court to seven counts of felony animal cruelty and seven misdemeanors for animal abandonment.
Culwell was arrested at her Coachella home just days after she was videotaped in April driving her Jeep up to a dumpster, calmly flipping a plastic bag packed with the three-day-old puppies into a pile of trash — and driving off.
A man rummaging in the garbage found them a short time later after hearing the little dogs’ cries. One of the terrier mixes, the smallest of the litter, later died, but the rest were saved when an employee at the auto parts shop called the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
“If not for the Good Samaritan’s actions, the puppies may not have survived much longer. The mid-day temperatures in Coachella [that day] were in the mid-90s,” the department said in a Facebook post.
When Culwell was arrested at her home, officials discovered 38 poorly cared-for dogs inside. Those dogs were also saved and put up for adoption.
“There is no excuse for dumping puppies,” said an animal services spokesman at the time. “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.”
The puppies were dumped during the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Culwell apparently had no link to the festival, but because she tossed out the pups during the event, the crimes received particular media attention.