Families looking for answers after dogs die at Gilbert boarding facility

GILBERT, AZ - A family whose dog was one of the 17 that died at a Gilbert boarding facility was hoping to get independent confirmation of when their pet perished.

Heather Bennett wanted a veterinarian to perform a necropsy, an animal autopsy, on her dog Remington.

But the vet said that Remington was too badly decomposed, Bennett said.

Bennett said she asked Todd Hughes, an owner of the Green Acre boarding facility, early Saturday about her dog’s whereabouts.

Hughes told her that the dog had run away, Bennett said.

Hughes confirmed to ABC 15 that he initially misled some dog owners.

Bennett didn’t find out until late Saturday that Remington was, in fact, dead in a shed on the property.

She believes that had Hughes initially been honest with her, a necropsy would have been possible for Remington.

All that one family will have left of their dog Carmen is her dog tags. The kennel's owners told Daniel Montez that Carmen's body is too decomposed to return her to his niece, Chloe, who's on vacation with her parents.

In fact a local crematorium told ABC15 they wouldn't go into the shed to retrieve the dogs' bodies, saying it's a bio-hazard.

Todd and MaLeisa Hughes were out of town and a daughter and son-in-law were checking on the dogs, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office.

On Sunday, ABC15 learned that the son-in-law is Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake's son, Austin.

"I learned of this tragic accident yesterday. I can't imagine the devastating loss these families are experiencing. My heart goes out to the owners who lost their beloved pets," Sen. Flake said in a written statement.

Austin's wife, Logan, said on Saturday that it was all a "horrible accident."


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