He was dumping his trash in Coachella when to his horror in the bin he saw a plastic bag with seven newborn puppies inside. On trial, her defense was puppies are not people?!
It was over 90 degrees that day in Coachella on April 18, 2019, the 3- day old puppies were thankfully still alive, so he took them into a nearby auto parts store which was air-conditioned to try and reduce their body temperatures.
Surveillance camera footage from the store was checked and a woman was viewed just 15 minutes prior, dumping the bag full of puppies into the bin according to NBC Los Angeles.
This act of cruelty shows just how much work still needs to be done to educate people on changing their attitudes to living defenseless animals. The woman, in this case, stands accused of extreme animal cruelty in neglecting over 40 dogs in her home. The story has shocked people throughout the state of California.
Riverside County Animal Services released a press statement saying that if were not for the kind acts of this Good Samaritan the puppies probably would not have survived for much longer. Why would someone even consider doing such a thing when the puppies can be taken to a shelter and foster parents found?
Caught on camera, the suspect doing the dumping is Deborah Sue Calwell, age 54. She was taken into custody on April 22 with charges of animal cruelty, a felony in the state of California. Upon going to her home police found horrific scenes inside, with days old dogs rotting in plastic bags left out in the sun.
“She had hoarded well over 38 dogs within the confines of her home, a residence in a deplorable state of disrepair,” according to RCAS officers. The animals in question were living in cramped confined conditions and were clearly nervous, not used to human contact or being handled with love and care. Few even know how to walk on a leash.
You can watch the full video right here below:
When the time came for Culwell’s bail hearing, which was originally set at $10,000, prosecutors asked the judge to raise it, given the seriousness of her crimes and the large number of dogs she had caused serious harm to. Her lawyer had the audacity to argue that “puppies aren’t people,” as reported by the Desert Sun; thus, her actions shouldn’t be punished as severely.
This inflamed people in the courtroom, who audibly gasped when the defense brought this argument out. The judge evidently agreed as he raised Culwell’s bail to $50,000. Just a few days after the hearing, the runt of the litter that Culwell was accused of having dumped passed away in foster care.
The incredible RCAS volunteer who took the puppies home, Noni Boen Schirm, did everything she could to save him, but after a brief and traumatic start to life, he couldn’t survive. “I lost the little tiny runt yesterday… my heart is so broken. he was just so weak and held on for as long as he could ????”, she shared with RCAS.
Thankfully, RCAS had managed to rehome 30 of the 37 adult dogs as of May 7, per their Facebook page, and Noni Boen Schirm continues to take care of the rest of the dumped puppies, who have survived and thrived.
For animal advocates in the case, the most important part of the story is that dogs are not just lifeless property that can be neglected and abused. As advocate Katie Phillips told the Desert Sun, “They’re living creatures and they’re on this earth for us to protect. And they’re innocent victims.”
While puppies might not be people, they deserve justice!