Search warrants released in Gilbert dog kennel deaths

GILBERT, AZ - Maricopa County Sheriff’s officials say there is no evidence to support the dogs that perished at a Gilbert boarding facility died because one of the dogs bit through an air conditioning wire.

On Wednesday, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office released the results of search warrants issued at the Green Acre boarding facility where more than 20 dogs were found dead last month.

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The owners of the kennel, Todd and Maleisa Hughes told ABC15 and the dogs' owners, the pups died after a dog chewed through the wire going into the air conditioner in the facility making it really hot inside.

However, according to the report, the dogs on whom necropsies were performed showed no signs of electrocution.

Tissue samples were collected for testing to “prove or disprove claims that the dogs were drugged,” the search warrant said.

The warrant states the Hughes', their daughter Logan Flake, and son-in-law Austin Flake committed animal cruelty by subjecting the 21 animals to "cruel neglect."

The Hughes’ claim they were out of town the night the dogs died. The couple arranged for the dogs to be taken care of by the Flakes.

The warrant goes on to say the dogs were given inadequate shelter. More than 20 dogs were locked in a 9-foot-by-12-foot room, and the four failed to provide medical treatment that was needed to prevent suffering.

The warrant revealed the Flakes accepted dogs at the Green Acre facility after the deadly incident, even as the owners of the dead dogs were still finding out what happened.

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

“[I]t is possible for the dogs to have died of suffocation if the room has no other ventilation and is well sealed off from other parts of the house,” the veterinarian told investigators.

One pet owner still must live with questions about what happened to her dog, “Sandy.”  The owner “has never been told what happened with her dog and has stated she would like the remains back,” the warrant said.

Official also seized cell phones, a computer, paperwork, boarding forms, an air filter and a luggage bag.

No arrests have been made in the case and no criminal charges have been filed.

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