A California woman accused of throwing puppies into a Coachella trash bin was sentenced to jail Wednesday.
Deborah Sue Culwell pleaded guilty in an Indio courthouse to seven felony animal cruelty counts and seven misdemeanor animal abandonment charges, NBC affiliate KMIR of Palm Springs reported.
This booking photo released by Riverside County Animal Services on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, shows Deborah Sue Culwell.Riverside County Animal Services via AP
A judge sentenced her to 365 days in jail, reduced to 174 days with credit for time already served, according to the station.
Culwell was arrested in April after she was captured on video throwing the puppies into a garbage bin near an auto parts store in 90-degree weather on April 18 before driving away, officials have said.
The puppies were in a plastic bag, authorities have said. A passerby discovered the animals, which were said to be around three days old. One of the dogs died three days later.
Animal control officers served an arrest warrant at Culwell’s home and discovered 38 dogs, which were seized.
Riverside County Animal Services said in a statement in April that had it not been for the man who discovered the dogs in the trash bin shortly after they were dumped, the animals may not have survived. The puppies found in the trash were turned over to a Southern California-based animal rescue and fostering organization, the department said.
Culwell’s sentence includes a term of probation that expires in 2026, and during that time she is barred from having any animals, according to online court records. She will also have to attend counseling, court records say.
Coachella is a city of around 40,000 around 120 miles east of Los Angeles.