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Surveillance video shows that a woman in a white Jeep pulled up around 1 p.m., got out and threw a clear plastic bag filled with 3-day-old terrier puppies into a trash bin, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus said in a social media post.
"There is no excuse for dumping puppies," Riverside Animal Services Cmdr. Chris Mayer said in a statement. "Especially in today's age when we or other shelters would be willing to get these animals to foster parents or rescue partners. This was a shameful act."
A passerby rummaging through the trash about an hour later noticed the bag and brought it into the auto parts store. Without this intervention, officials believe the puppies would not have survived much longer as temperatures were in the mid-90s that day.
An Animal Services veterinary team evaluated the puppies and took them to a rescue group which will care for them.
Police are searching for the woman, who could be facing animal cruelty charges, officials said.