Gilbert 23 case: New indictment charges owners of kennel where dogs died

The legal troubles aren't over for the owners of a Gilbert boarding facility where more than 20 dogs died last Summer.

Jesse and Malesia Hughes have been re-indicted on animal cruelty charges.

Prosecutors say there is enough evidence to support the charges.

While the charges are back for the owners of Green Acre, the people who were watching the more than 20 dogs when they died, will not be charged.

The owners of the dogs that died are reacting to the decision to re-instate charges against the owners of Green Acre and not even present the case against their daughter and son in law, who were watching the dogs while the owners were out of town.

"It has taken one year for us to start all over again at the very beginning, and I feel it is amazing to me that across the country and the world, that people feel that animal cruelty and neglect has happened," said Diane Ortiz.

In explaining his decision, the County Attorney says since the Flakes do not own the business, and weren't responsible for maintaining the safety of the operation, they were just helping out, it would be very hard to prove to a jury that their actions were intentional or reckless.

"It is our assessment with the evidence that we have the mental state, and the standard for criminal culpability is best brought against the business owners," said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

The dogs owners pointed out that when the Flakes discovered the dogs in distress they never called for help.

The County Attorney said the fact that Austin Flake is the son of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake played no part in his decision.

"In every single criminal case you could play the 6 degrees of separation to come up with some alternative explanation other than the only thing we focus on in this office, what is the evidence, what does the law require, and what can we prove," said Montgomery.

The owners say that the air conditioning unit failed after one of the animals chewed through a cord.

However, an MCSO investigation found that there was no evidence that the wire cut power to the air conditioning unit and a vet believed that the dogs most likely suffocated.

Statement from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio:
"My animal crimes detectives did an outstanding job on all aspects into the deaths last year of 21 dogs at the Green Acres Boarding facility. And, like the victims in the Green Acres case, I too am disappointed by today's decision. However, as Sheriff, I understand that the objective of the county attorney's office is to secure a conviction."
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