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California woman gets jail for dumping puppies in trash

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Posted at 8:18 AM, Aug 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 14:29:23-04

INDIO, Calif. (AP) -- A Southern California woman authorities caught on surveillance video dumping a bag of 3-day-old puppies into a trash can has received jail time after changing her plea to guilty.

Deborah Culwell on Wednesday was sentenced to 365 days in county jail -- reduced to 174 days with credit for time served.

The Desert Sun reports the 59-year-old admitted to animal cruelty and animal abandonment charges after previously pleading not guilty.

Prosecutors say she dumped a plastic bag containing seven palm-sized puppies into a store dumpster. They were left in sweltering heat before a man heard their cries and rescued them.

Her attorney generated controversy when he said "As the law is written, puppies aren't people" during a hearing.

The pups, believed to be terrier mixes, were treated for dehydration but one later died.

Another 38 dogs were rescued from Culwell's home in Coachella, east of Los Angeles.