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MCSO Investigating 20 Dog Deaths in Gilbert

MCSO Investigating 20 Dog Deaths in Gilbert

(Fox 10) Some of the dog owners who lost their dogs in a tragedy in Gilbert say they were lied to and misled by the kennel's owners.

They say they paid $20 a day and were told this was a free range facility where only six dogs were housed at a time.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio said that no stone will go unturned in the investigation.

"This was supposed to be Disneyland for dogs, it's a mass murder of dogs," said Heather Wicker.

Heather Wicker owned one of the 20 dogs found dead at the Green Acres Dog Boarding Facility in Gilbert over the weekend.

"He was in the shed, in a pile of dead dogs," said Wicker.

Investigators say 28 dogs were being kept in a 10 x 10 room in the home. The caretakers say a dog chewed through an electrical cord running to the air conditioner. Detectives say 20 dogs died, 8 survived.

MCSO officials say the owners of the facility were out of town, and the dogs were taken care of by their 21 year-old daughter and her husband, Austin Flake.

"When my sweet daughter and sweet son came upon the horrific scene, the live wire the dog chewed on was still sparking," said Malesia Hughes.

The Flake's told investigators they last checked on the dogs at 11 p.m. Thursday night. They say that the dogs were found dead around 5:30 a.m. Friday morning. MCSO said they were not notified until Noon on Saturday when a dog owner called them.

By that time, the electrical wire was fixed, and the Sheriff's office is questioning the timeline.

"How can you be healthy at 11 o'clock and be dead at 5:30 in the morning," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

When the Flake's discovered the dogs around 5:30 a.m. Friday they tried to hose off the ones in distress but never called for help. They say they placed the dead dogs in the shed behind the house.

"They were doing everything they could to resuscitate the dogs," said Hughes.

The dog owners say they were notified by Hughes's husband that their dogs had ran away.

"We were told they had escaped, they were gone, and the family claimed they had been looking for the dogs for hours," said Wicker.

"He panics, he told a lie. And when asked by the sheriff department he immediately corrected his mistake," said Hughes.

"Nobody feels worse about these poor special angel dogs than me and my husband, my daughter and son-in-law, nobody," she said.

Wicker had a second dog at the facility that is missing. He is a German Shepard and Husky mix that was micro chipped. He was not among the dead. 

A Facebook page has been dedicated to the tragedy you can view it here.

Sheriff Arpaio says he will be at the celebration of life for the dogs this Saturday.


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