The owner of 38 dogs seized by Riverside County Animal Services has relinquished her pets, which allows the adoption process to begin.
County animal control officers seized the dogs on April 22 from the Coachella residence of Deborah Sue Culwell, the owner, who was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty.
Culwell, is suspected of willfully abandoning seven newborn puppies by tossing them into a trash container in Coachella on April 18. The cruelty case allegation is now under review at the Riverside County District Attorney’s office.
Culwell relinquished ownership of the 38 dogs late Friday afternoon, April 27, according to the Riverside County Department of Animal Services.
Six of the seven puppies she allegedly stuffed into a plastic bag and dropped into a trash bin survived the dumping. They are still being cared for by a foster volunteer.
The 38 seized dogs remain at the Coachella Valley Animal Campus in Thousand Palms. These dogs will be made available for adoption or transfer to the department’s rescue group partner organizations this week.
Meanwhile, Riverside County Animal Services’ veterinary staff members will coordinate the dogs’ spay and neuter surgeries as soon as possible.
Other developments in the Culwell cruelty investigation include an Culwell admitting that the dumped puppies were actually from two separate litters, according to John Welsh, Animal Services Chief/Media Relations & Social Media Strategist.
“We’re not surprised by the admission,” Commander Chris Mayer said. “On the day we seized the dogs, we noticed that several of the dogs appeared to have had recent litters.”
.Following is a video clip and still images of the 38 seized dogs that will be made available for adoption.
Animal Services Director Allan Drusys said he believes the foster volunteer is doing an excellent job nursing the surviving puppies. At this point, reintroducing the two females with the litters is not planned, he said.
“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,” said Drusys, the county’s chief veterinarian, said in a prepared statement. “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.”
No word yet on when any of the surviving puppies might be available for adoption.
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