Owners of Gilbert kennel enter plea in dog death case

The owners of a Gilbert kennel where 21 dogs died of heat exhaustion will serve less than a month in jail.
-
The owners of a Gilbert boarding facility where more than 20 dogs died will have to go to jail as part of a plea deal they accepted today.
 
FOX 10's Andrew Hasbun was in court as they changed their plea to guilty and got the details of their punishment.
 
They will each have to serve 23 days in jail. That is one day for each of the 23 dogs that died at their boarding facility two years ago this month.
 
Since the beginning Tod and Maleisa Hughes, the owners of the boarding house, have maintained their innocence.
 
Today, they both changed their pleas to guilty of fraud for misleading customers about the conditions inside their boarding house and guilty of animal cruelty in the deaths of all those dogs left in a small room and found dead after a hot night without air-conditioning.
 
The suspects claim the air-conditioning broke.
 
"I feel good that they have admitted guilt. I feel good that Maleisa has finally realized that she will be punished for what they did cause it was gross animal cruelty and neglect and what they did to our dogs was horrific," said Valerie Collins who lost two dogs in the incident.
 
In addition to the 23 days in jail, the Hughes' will complete 230 hours of community service and serve three years of probation. They also can't post about the case on social media or take any new animals.
 
The Hughes will also have to write an apology letter to the victims who lost their dogs at the boarding facility known as Green Acre.
 
"The victims wanted that because they want the Hughes' to apologize to take responsibility for their actions," said John Schill, one of the victim's attorney.
 
The owners of the dogs didn't all agree; some hoped for more severe punishment.
 
"Ultimately we wanted this to go to trial and have a jury decide," said Shannon Gillette, another victim who lost two dogs.
 
"We wanted them convicted of a felony. We wanted them to go to jail and we are getting some of that even though it's just a little spit in the pan but it shows that we prevailed," said Jacqueline Heath who lost three dogs in the incident.
 
The 230 hours of community service will  have to be done at an animal organization such as Animal Care and Control or the Humane Society.
 
The Hughes' are set to be officially sentenced on September 9.
 

  • Popular

  • Recent

Stories You May Be Interested In – includes Advertiser Stories