Protesters picket Flake over Gilbert dog deaths

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(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (Source: CBS 5 News) U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Protesters picketing outside a speech by U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake Tuesday morning demanded someone be held responsible for the deaths of 23 dogs at a Gilbert boarding facility.

Sen. Flake's son, Austin, was supposed to have been watching the dogs when they died.

The owners of the boarding kennel, MaLeisa and Todd Hughes, claimed the dogs died of heat exposure after a dog chewed through an air conditioner power cord where they were boarded.  

The couple was actually out of town and left the dogs in the care of their daughter, Logan Flake and her husband, Austin Flake, who is the son of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. 

A search warrant served by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office last month indicated that investigators found evidence that shows that Logan and Austin Flake were still taking in pets to watch at Green Acres, during and after the timeframe that the dogs were reportedly already dead.

Demonstrators were hoping to get a response from the senator who was speaking at a Gilbert Chamber of Commerce breakfast but he still had very little to say.

"The investigation is ongoing and it would be inappropriate for me to comment on it," Flake told reporters as he left the event.

Flake said any talk about reform for dog boarding kennels would have to come from the state level, not the federal government.

From T-shirts to dog collars to bumper stickers and even Facebook avatars, the push for change following the loss of the dogs at Green Acre is becoming more of a movement.

The "Gilbert 23 Rescue Mission" was formed in the wake of the incident to raise awareness about animal cruelty. The group continues to hold events where they sell shirts that remember the dogs.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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