Sheriff Arpaio briefing on Gilbert dog deaths investigation

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX (AP) -- The four people responsible for 21 dogs who died at a Gilbert kennel three months ago should face felony charges for cruel animal neglect, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Tuesday.

Arpaio said his office forwarded its investigation into the June 20 deaths at Green Acres Boarding Kennel to prosecutors for review.

"I'm very confident we have the proper evidence for a conviction," Arpaio said at a news conference.

Kennel owners Todd and MaLesia Hughes have said the animals died of heat exhaustion in an 8- by 12-foot room when one dog chewed through the air conditioner's power cord after two caregivers had left the facility for the night. None of the four has been arrested.

Sheriff's investigators said in July that no evidence was found that a chewed-up electrical wire had cut power to a cooling unit. A veterinarian who performed necropsies on some of the dogs says they likely suffocated to death.

"The key issue here is failure to provide food, water and shelter," Arpaio said. "That's what we're basing the felony charges on."

When a 3TV crew approached MaLesia Hughes as she arrived home Tuesday night, she refused to talk about anything, aside from her daughter's volleyball team.

Owners of some of the dogs who died at the boarding facility call the sheriff's announcement a good "first step" toward justice.

"From day one with them, everything has been a lie. We never believed a dog chewed through the AC wire. We later found out 20 dogs were in a pile in a hot shed, rotting away. We want to make sure that the people responsible for the dogs' deaths don't walk away free." Shannon Gillete told 3TV.

Gillete and her husband lost two golden retrievers at the facility.

"You have to remember that our family members died there," he said.

"I feel those responsible need to serve jail time, if that's what's found to be appropriate," Jacqueline Heath said.

"Jail time is fair in this case. People should not be allowed to get away with this," Michelle Putnam echoed.

The Hughes family was vacationing in Florida at the time and said their daughter Logan Flake and son-in-law Austin Flake, whose father is U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., were in charge of watching the dogs.

The Flakes reportedly tried to save the animals by hosing and icing them down, but authorities said they didn't call for emergency assistance before the dogs died.

Telephone messages left for the Flakes and Hugheses seeking comment on the case weren't immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is asking the Maricopa County Attorney to charge four people with felony animal cruelty and neglect charges in connection with the deaths of 21 dogs at the Green Acre boarding facility.

The Sheriff's office has completed its investigation, according to a written statement from Arpaio released on Tuesday.

The statement said the dogs died from apparent suffocation and overheating in June.

The statement says, "All of those involved in the investigation as well as myself, are confident that felony charges for cruel animal neglect as well as various misdemeanors should be brought against all four suspects in the case including business owners, Todd And Maleisia Hughes, and caretakers, Austin and Logan Flake."

The case has been submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's office for review.

The boarding facility's owners say the animals died of heat exhaustion when one dog chewed through the air conditioner's power cord after caregivers had left the facility for the night.

Investigators in July said no evidence of that was found.

A veterinarian who performed necropsies on some of the dogs says they likely suffocated to death.

Click here for stories on the Gilbert dog deaths

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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MCSO investigating deaths of 20 dogs in Gilbert

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Monday that his office is planning an "immediate and thorough investigation" into the deaths of 20 dogs at a pet boarding facility in Gilbert.

The dogs died over the weekend of apparent heat exhaustion.

Authorities said the air conditioning at the Green Acres Dog Boarding Facility went out after one of the dogs chewed through a wall and then an electrical cord.

"But it seems unreasonable that dogs could be healthy at 11 at night and dead by 5:30 the next morning as the owners suggest," Arpaio said at a news conference. "Even the veterinarian I met with agrees that the timeline given by the owners and caretakers is highly suspect."

Arpaio said his deputies found the 20 dead dogs piled into a shed on the property.

Some pet owners said they already have contacted lawyers to pursue a possible civil case against the kennel's operators, who were vacationing out of state when the dogs died.

Sheriff's officials said the boarding facility's owners arranged for the dogs to be taken care of by their daughter and their son-in-law.

The son-in-law, Austin Flake, is the son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. The senator issued a statement calling it a "tragic accident" but didn't confirm or deny his son's involvement.

Sheriff's officials said the Flakes discovered the dogs Friday morning and the couple tried to save what animals they could by hosing and icing them down, but they failed to call for emergency assistance before the dogs died.

"If a crime occurred, someone will be held accountable," Arpaio said.

FacebookThe Tragedy at Green Acre Dog Boarding Gilbert, AZ

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MCSO: 17 dogs dead from heat at Gilbert boarding facility

Owners of dogs that died at Gilbert boarding facility pushing for charges

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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PHOENIX -- Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is asking the Maricopa County Attorney to charge four people with felony animal cruelty and neglect charges in connection with the deaths of 21 dogs at the Green Acre boarding facility.

The Sheriff's office has completed its investigation, according to a written statement from Arpaio released on Tuesday.

The statement said the dogs died from apparent suffocation and overheating in June.

The statement says, "All of those involved in the investigation as well as myself, are confident that felony charges for cruel animal neglect as well as various misdemeanors should be brought against all four suspects in the case including business owners, Todd And Maleisia Hughes, and caretakers, Austin and Logan Flake."

The case has been submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's office for review.

The boarding facility's owners say the animals died of heat exhaustion when one dog chewed through the air conditioner's power cord after caregivers had left the facility for the night.

Investigators in July said no evidence of that was found.

A veterinarian who performed necropsies on some of the dogs says they likely suffocated to death.

Click here for stories on the Gilbert dog deaths

The Associated Press contributed to this report

--

MCSO investigating deaths of 20 dogs in Gilbert

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Monday that his office is planning an "immediate and thorough investigation" into the deaths of 20 dogs at a pet boarding facility in Gilbert.

The dogs died over the weekend of apparent heat exhaustion.

Authorities said the air conditioning at the Green Acres Dog Boarding Facility went out after one of the dogs chewed through a wall and then an electrical cord.

"But it seems unreasonable that dogs could be healthy at 11 at night and dead by 5:30 the next morning as the owners suggest," Arpaio said at a news conference. "Even the veterinarian I met with agrees that the timeline given by the owners and caretakers is highly suspect."

Arpaio said his deputies found the 20 dead dogs piled into a shed on the property.

Some pet owners said they already have contacted lawyers to pursue a possible civil case against the kennel's operators, who were vacationing out of state when the dogs died.

Sheriff's officials said the boarding facility's owners arranged for the dogs to be taken care of by their daughter and their son-in-law.

The son-in-law, Austin Flake, is the son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. The senator issued a statement calling it a "tragic accident" but didn't confirm or deny his son's involvement.

Sheriff's officials said the Flakes discovered the dogs Friday morning and the couple tried to save what animals they could by hosing and icing them down, but they failed to call for emergency assistance before the dogs died.

"If a crime occurred, someone will be held accountable," Arpaio said.

FacebookThe Tragedy at Green Acre Dog Boarding Gilbert, AZ

RELATED:

MCSO: 17 dogs dead from heat at Gilbert boarding facility

Owners of dogs that died at Gilbert boarding facility pushing for charges

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.