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38 dogs found in home of woman suspected of dumping puppies at Coachella put up for adoption

RIVERSIDE COUNTY, Calif. – A woman who had been arrested on suspicion of tossing seven newborn puppies into a dumpster in Coachella has relinquished control of 38 dogs seized from her home, authorities said Monday.

The dogs were being cared for by the Riverside County Department of Animal Services at a Thousand Palms facility and will be made available for adoption after they’ve had spay and neuter surgeries, the department said.

Deborah Sue Culwell, 54, was arrested April 22, four days after she was caught on surveillance video tossing a bag full of puppies into a dumpster behind a store, authorities said.

A man rummaging through the dumpster spotted the bag about an hour later and rescued the 3-day-old puppies, but the smallest one died a few days later.

Culwell told authorities the dumped puppies were from two separate litters, Department of Animal Services officials said.

“We’re not surprised by the admission,” Animal Services Cmdr. Chris Mayer said in a written statement. “On the day we seized the dogs, we noticed that several of the dogs appeared to have had recent litters.”

The six surviving puppies are being cared for by a foster volunteer, the Department of Animal Services said.

Officials said there are no plans to reunite the puppies with their mothers.

“The woman who has graciously dedicated many hours and a fair amount of her own money toward these abandoned puppies is doing a great job,” a county veterinarian said in the news release. “We don’t want to interrupt her wonderful work with the two mothers, especially since time has passed and the mothers may reject the pups at this stage.”

The animal cruelty allegations are under review at the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office.

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