Gilbert dog deaths lawsuit: Flakes file federal suit against Arpaio

It has been one year since more than 20 dogs died at a Gilbert boarding facility.

The owners of that facility are facing felony charges, but the charges against their daughter and son-in-law who were watching the dogs were dropped.

Now Austin and Logan Flake are suing the Sheriff and MCSO in Federal Court. The Flakes claim the Sheriff pursued the case for publicity, and that because a Senator's son was involved, it was politically motivated.

The Federal lawsuit alleges the flakes were victims of malicious prosecution, and that the Sheriff knew the Flake's name would garner publicity.

Austin and Logan Flake were originally indicted on felony charges, but those charges were dropped by prosecutors.

They were the ones watching the dogs while the owners of the boarding house were out of town, and the young couple discovered the dogs dead.

As part of the investigation, deputies looked at phone records, and according to the lawsuit, they specifically looked for calls to and from Senator Jeff Flake and his wife.

Lawyers also claimed MCSO deputies conducted surveillance outside the Senator's home, even though Austin and Logan were in Utah, and that the Sheriff used the criminal process to  "to accomplish a purpose for which it is not designed-to garner publicity, and to dig for information on and harm a rival politician and his family."

The Flakes attorney would not comment on the lawsuit, but in February he spoke to FOX 10 when they filed a notice of claim.

"This case to him had everything, it had publicity, it had a politicians son, it had pets, the one thing it didn't have was probable cause," said Jack Wilenchik.

MCSO denies the allegations and in a statement Arpaio said, "My Office stands by this investigation and the work of our professional and dedicated animal crimes unit detectives. The allegation being made by Flake's attorney that this investigation was in any way politically motivated is completely false."

In the lawsuit the Flake's lawyers say the Sheriff and Sen. Flake haven't seen eye-to-eye on some political issues. 

When the notice of claim was filed, the Flake's attorney said the couple was seeking $8 million in damages.
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