20 dead dogs remembered at candlelight vigil


by Erika Flores

Bio | Email | Follow: @ErikaFloresTV


Posted on June 29, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 29 at 1:19 PM

PHOENIX -- Pet owners experienced the ultimate heartbreak when their dogs were found dead at a Gilbert boarding facility a week ago.

Saturday night, they remembered the lives of those they called family members with a special candlelight vigil.

More than 100 people lit candles in remembrance of the 20 dogs that died at the Green Acre boarding facility. Many of them carried signs while others brought pictures of their dogs.

They said they wanted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio to know how deeply they were impacted by the deaths of their dogs, but not everyone at the vigil lost a pet at Green Acre. Many of the people in attendance were community members wanting to show their support.

They brought their furry family members, and Arpaio even brought K-9 officers.

They shared the common goal of remembering the dogs but also demanded answers from the sheriff, whose office is investigating the case.

"I hope you know that we have done everything that we can and I’m not bashful. You all know that I lock people up ... who abuse animals, but still, you have to have the probable cause; you know that. You have to have the evidence," Arpaio said.

David Gillette, who lost two dogs at Green Acre, attended the vigil.

"A wrong has been done," he said. "Our focus from this point forward is to uncover answers to the questions that we have and make sure we put things in place so that if this happens again, people will be held accountable immediately."

The dog owners said they have faith that the sheriff's office will be able to get to the bottom of what exactly happened to cause 20 dogs to die.

Some dog owners said they just don't believe Green Acre's story that a dog chewed through a wall and wire, causing the air conditioning to go out.

Green Acre owner MaLeisa Hughes said it was an accident.

Arpaio said even if it is an accident, his detectives are investigating to make sure.