GILBERT, AZ - Authorities said on Wednesday that even if the air conditioning was working in a room at a Gilbert boarding facility where nearly two dozen dogs died last month, the air flow may not have been enough to keep the dogs alive.
Twelve Maricopa County Sheriff’s detectives went into the Green Acre Dog Boarding facility with two electrical and air flow forensic experts early in the morning with a search warrant and seized evidence from the business and the home on the property.
They are hoping the evidence will help determine why 22 dogs died in the facility between June 19 and June 20 .
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, the dogs left by vacationing owners were said to have died from heat exposure.
The business owners claim one of the dogs chewed through a wire which shorted out the air conditioning unit to the 9 by 12 foot room where 28 dogs were being kept, according to MCSO.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was on hand as deputies seized computers, cell phones, ledgers and business documents, as well as wiring and drywall.
The remains of one dog buried on the property were also exhumed, according to Arpaio.
Arpaio said the experts were testing the owner’s theory that a dog chewed through a wire, tripping the breaker and turning off the air conditioning unit.
He said the air flow experts “suspect that even if the air conditioning system to that small room was functioning the day these dogs died, the air flow in that size room with so many large dogs inside it may not have been sufficient to keep those dogs alive.”
Arpaio said business owner MaLeisa Hughes was home during the execution of the search warrant and that detectives described her demeanor today as “somewhat hostile and uncooperative.”
Sheriff’s detectives tried to interview the couple that was taking care of the animals while the business owners were out of town, but Arpaio said Logan and Austin Flake would not return phone calls and instead left the state. When they were tracked down in Provo, Utah they refused to answer any questions, Arpaio said.
Arpaio said he believes detectives will be able to make a determination soon about whether there’s enough evidence to file criminal charges against the owners and/or the caretakers.
“Justice is what we are seeking – not revenge,” Arpaio said.