Son Of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake Among 4 Indicted On Animal Cruelty Charges
An investigation into the deaths of more than 20 dogs at an Arizona kennel l in June resulted Wednesday in a series of felony and misdemeanor indictments against the kennel’s owners and the caretakers who were left in charge while they were on vacation in Florida. Sen. Jeff Flake’s son, Austin, was among those indicted.
Green Acre Dog Boarding owners Jesse Todd Hughes and his wife, Maleisa Hughes, were indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury on 22 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, and one felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices, according to County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s office, AZCentral reports.
[su_center_ad]Logan Flake, the Hughes’ daughter, and her husband, Austin, son of U.S Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz), were indicted on 21 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
All four defendants are to appear in court at an Oct. 23 arraignment.
The charges stem from the deaths of 21 dogs and injury of four others at the facility..
“We have to prove how each of those dogs died,” Jerry Cobb, a county attorney spokesman said. “They basically suffocated. They were in a tight room without enough air.”
“How would you like your dog stuffed in a small room? Twenty-eight dogs,” Sheriff Joe Arpaio told reporters on Wednesday night. “Think about that. I feel sorry for the owners. … This has been one of the toughest cases we have worked. We had over 17 people work this case, between the posse, other volunteers, our deputies.”
Some of the dog owners were reportedly told their pets has run away.
According to AZCentral, one of the dogs managed to escape and was found weeks later on the side of a Gilbert road, having been struck by a car. Most of the pets were found dead on the facility’s grounds.
In a statement, Sen. Flake said, “This is simply the next step in the legal process, and I have confidence in that process.”
According to Dennis Wilenchik, an attorney for the Flakes, a motion to dismiss the case will be filed or remand it back to the grand jury. He said there is no evidence that the Flakes committed any crimes.
“They’re innocent. They will be proven innocent,” Wilenchik said. “There is no evidence to convict them of any felony charge.”
A civil lawsuit filed by John Schill and Shawn Cunnington, the attorneys representing the dog owners, alleges the dog owners were fraudulently led to believe their pets would be roaming free at Green Acre, playing with the Hughes’ children, sleeping under their beds and frolicking in a spacious backyard.
Instead, they found that the dogs were kept in a “dog room” that was not shown to prospective customers during tours of Green Acre.
“There is a relief. There is a sense of sadness. You can’t bring their family members back,” Schill said of the charges. “Now, they know they have support: The county attorney and the grand jury feel a crime has been committed.”
Schill said he is hoping for a prison sentence if the Hugheses and Flakes are convicted.
Watch courtesy of AZCentral:
H/T: The incomparable @CarlaAkins with thanks.[su_csky_ad]