GILBERT, Ariz. -- Although the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said detectives are still investigating what happened when 17 dogs died at a boarding business in Gilbert late last week, there is now a big effort to bring charges against the business owners.
Dog owners and their friends said they were first told their dogs had run away.
When they learned the dogs were dead, they went to Green Acre Dog Boarding near Queen Creek Road and Val Vista Drive just outside the Gilbert city limits.
The sheriff's office said it looks like the dogs chewed through the wall and chewed a wire that shut off air conditioning to the area where the dogs were staying Thursday night.
When staff showed up Friday morning, some six hours later, they found several dogs had died from heat exhaustion and others were gravely ill.
The sheriff’s spokesperson said it looked like a tragic accident.
Dog owners have now signed a petition asking the sheriff's office to further investigate this tragedy and asking the county attorney to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
"It's not like they just went off and left them,” said neighbor Mary Jane McGrath, “They did leave them in the care of two adults.”
McGrath said she's always seen the family treat the dogs in their care well.
"They’re wonderful people. I always see them taking good care of the dogs. They're out there with them running with them in the yard taking good care of them," said McGrath.