4 Indicted in deaths of 21 dogs at Gilbert kennel

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX (AP) -- Four people including a son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake have been indicted on cruelty to animal charges after 21 dogs died at a Gilbert kennel in June, prosecutors said Wednesday.

A grand jury indicted Green Acre Dog Boarding owners Jesse Todd and Malesia Maurine Hughes along with the couple's daughter Logan Flake and son-in-law Austin Flake, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said.

The Hugheses said the animals died of heat exhaustion on June 20 in an 8- by 12-foot room when one dog chewed through the air conditioner's power cord after the caretakers left the facility for the night.

The couple was vacationing in Florida at the time and said their daughter and son-in-law were in charge of watching the dogs, authorities said.

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.

A veterinarian who performed necropsies on some of the dogs said they likely suffocated.

County sheriff's investigators said in July that no evidence was found that a chewed-up electrical wire had cut power to a cooling unit and forwarded their findings to Montgomery's office.

The indictment charges the Hugheses with 22 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and one felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

Prosecutors said the couple also is facing one felony count each of fraudulent schemes and artifices.

Austin and Logan Flake each are charged with 21 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.

It wasn't immediately clear if the defendants have lawyers. Telephone messages left for the Flakes and Hugheses seeking comment weren't immediately returned.

The four are scheduled to appear at a court hearing Oct. 23.

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