Gilbert 23 case: Austin and Logan flake sue MCSO, Sheriff Arpaio for $8 million

They were the subject of a high-profile investigation, accused of animal abuse in the deaths of more than 23 dogs at a boarding house near Gilbert.

The charges against Austin and Logan Flake have been dismissed and now they're suing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seeking $8 million in damages, claiming they were wrongfully targeted.

The Flakes claim they were targeted by the Sheriff's office and their reputations were ruined by this investigation.  They appear to be very confident they won't be charged again, so now they are suing.

The Flakes are seeking $4 million each.  In their notice sent to MCSO, their attorneys claim the Sheriff and his deputies constructed a conspiracy to wrongfully indict the Flakes on felony charges.

"The Sheriff has a long history of bringing cases for publicity.  This case to him had everything.  It had publicity, it had a politician's son, it had pets and the one thing it didn't have was probable cause," said attorney Jack Wilenchik.

The Flakes were watching the dogs while the owners of the Green Acre boarding facility were out of town.  They claim the air conditioner cooling the room where they kept close to 30 dogs unexpectedly shut down.  Their attorney says the $8 million reflects the damage done to the couple's reputation.

"There has been real damage to their job opportunities, to their education.. these are young kids going to college.. this is something that will stick with them for their lives," said Wilenchik.

The animal abuse charges against the Flakes were dismissed while the county attorney decides whether to re-submit the case to the grand jury.  News of the lawsuit infuriated the dog owners.

"We have an open wound here and they are just put salt on it," said Valerie Collins, who lost two dogs.  "The fact of the matter is there should have never been that many dogs placed in that room.  It is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.  I can't even understand it.  It is mind blowing to me that they would take this route. It is like a slap in the face."

The Sheriff's office tells FOX 10 they are aware of the Flake's intentions and they disagree with the allegations and characterizations of the criminal investigation.

Because there is still the possibility that the case could be sent back to the grand jury, the Sheriff's office wouldn't comment any further.
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