INDIO, Calif. (KESQ/CNN) — The California woman accused of dumping seven puppies in a trash container in April was back in court Thursday, but it was a statement made by her attorney that drew audible gasps from the courtroom.
Joseph Cavanaugh, the attorney defending 54-year-old Deborah Culwell, said her bail shouldn’t be increased because her alleged crimes are against animals and not people.
“As the law is written, puppies aren’t people,” Cavanaugh said during the hearing, drawing outrage in the courtroom.
Culwell is charged with seven counts of animal cruelty after authorities say she was caught on camera tossing a plastic bag containing 3-day-old puppies into a trash container in Coachella, California.
“I couldn’t believe that, ‘Puppies are not people,’” said Katie Phillips, vice president of Society’s Outkasts Animal Rescue. “Well, they are a living being, and I loved it when the entire audience gasped when he had the gall to say that about these precious creatures of the Earth.”
Two of those dogs now live at Phillips’ home, where she’s raising them before they find permanent homes.
“Well, I think from the day they were born they were probably isolated, away from humans,” Phillips said. “So, they don’t even understand what human touch is all about. It’s not a good thing. It’s a scary thing.”
As for the seven puppies thrown in the trash, one later died.
Culwell relinquished ownership of all her animals.
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