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Civil Lawsuit Filed Against Kennel Owners After Dozens Of Dogs Died

Dog Owners (from left to right) Jacqueline and Cary Heath and Shannon Gillette holding photos of their pets that died in June at the Green Acre Dog Boarding Home in Gilbert.
(Photo by Steve Shadley)
Dog Owners (from left to right) Jacqueline and Cary Heath and Shannon Gillette holding photos of their pets that died in June at the Green Acre Dog Boarding Home in Gilbert.

The owners of 22 dogs that died at a boarding home in Gilbert  in June have filed a civil lawsuit seeking at least $75,000 in damages. The suit accuses the kennel owners of racketeering and defrauding consumers.

The civil suit has been filed in Maricopa County Superior Court. It accuses the owners of Green Acre Dog Boarding, Jeff and Maleisa Hughes and two caretakers who are relatives of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, Austin and Logan Flake, of negligence and misrepresenting the safety of the facility. 

Authorities said the dogs suffocated after they were left in a small room with a broken air conditioner and a lack of food and water. Attorney John Schill is representing the dog owners and he said they were misled by the kennel operators.

"They told customers, our clients, other people, that this was like a doggie Disneyland," Schill said. "Come and your dog is going to be treated the best ever. They were on the internet saying that as well, on websites, on social media. People were deceived.”

Right after the incident happened, the Hughes told reporters that a dog had chewed through the electrical cord to the air conditioner. 

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is still considering whether criminal charges will be filed. 

KJZZ Senior Field Correspondent Steve Shadley is no stranger to the issues shaping Arizona.