Charges uncertain in deaths of 21 dogs in Gilbert

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

GILBERT, Ariz. -- The Maricopa County attorney says it could take weeks before a decision is made on whether to charge the owners of a Gilbert boarding facility where 21 dogs died earlier this year.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery says his office has five binders, each with 500 pages of information, to review in the case, along with 12 discs. The sheriff’s office provided the evidence after an investigation that spanned several months.

“If there’s evidence of felonies and there's a reasonable likelihood of conviction, we’ll charge them,” Montgomery says.

On Tuesday, Sheriff Joe Arpaio called for animal neglect and cruelty charges against the owners of the facility, Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, and the caregivers, Logan and Austin Flake.

The Hugheses were out of town when the dogs died and had left the pets in the care of their daughter, Logan Flake, and son-in-law, Austin Flake, the son of Sen. Jeff Flake.

Montgomery says his office will bring charges only if the evidence supports it and if they think they can prove it in court.

“This is not a version of ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ” Montgomery says. “You can’t call in and vote for a charge. It won’t work that way.”