Arizona

Jul 9, 2014 9:38 PM by Associated Press

Deputies return to Gilbert site where dogs died

GILBERT, Ariz. (AP) - Maricopa County sheriff's deputies served a search warrant Wednesday at a Gilbert boarding facility where more than 20 dogs were found dead last month.

The Green Acre boarding facility's owners have said the animals died of heat exhaustion when one dog chewed through the air conditioner's power cord after caregivers had left the facility for the night.

"We're not so sure that's what happened," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said. "Also, these 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."

Authorities said 22 of the 28 dogs kept in the 8-by-12-foot room were found dead June 20.

Fluid from the dead dogs is being sent to university labs to check for drugs, Arpaio said at a news conference.

The kennel's owner-operators have not been arrested or charged.

Sheriff's deputies combed through the property and seized computers, cellphones, ledgers and business documents, as well as wiring and drywall.

Arpaio said the remains of one dog buried on the property were exhumed. It's not immediately known if that dog belonged to the owners or to a client of the kennel.

No other animal carcasses were found on the property, according to the sheriff.

Deputies said one of the boarding facility's owners was home when the search warrant was executed at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday and she was "somewhat hostile and uncooperative."

The owners previously told authorities that they arranged for the dogs to be taken care of by their daughter and her husband Austin Flake, whose father is U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake.

Austin and Logan Flake reportedly tried to save the animals by hosing and icing them down, but authorities said they didn't call for emergency assistance before the dogs died.

Arpaio said the Flakes haven't returned calls from sheriff's investigators and the couple refused to answer any questions about the case when they were tracked down a few days ago in Provo, Utah.

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