Search warrant details emerge in Gilbert dog deaths - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Search warrant details emerge in Gilbert dog deaths

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GILBERT, Ariz. - It's been nearly a month since more than 20 dogs were found dead at a Gilbert boarding kennel.

Since then there have been no arrests, no one charged in the incident.

But there are new details emerging about what investigators found when they raided the Green Acres Boarding Kennel more than a week ago.

That search warrant was ordered unsealed by a judge late Wednesday afternoon.

The 31 page document contains interviews with dog owners, some of which insist the owner of the facility lied, telling their dogs ran away when in fact they died.

Others say they had no idea so many dogs were going to be at that facility.

The warrant also reveals that investigators are looking at possible animal cruelty charges against the owners; their daughter, and her husband Austin Flake, who were left to watch the dogs when they died.

Video from the raid showed deputies serving a search warrant at the facility in Gilbert. That warrant showed they sealed computers, cell phones, USB storage devices, power, and phone bills. They also were looking for medicine for dogs.

"I think this warrant and affidavit showed we're not leaving any stone, what do they say?, unturned," said Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

An investigator said he found that 21 dogs were locked in a 9x12 room with one air vent. He said there were 3 doors in the room. One was sealed with caulking to prevent air, or smells to pass from the dogs into the bedroom. The other door is described as a "well sealed exterior door" and the window, the owner told the deputy, was usually closed.

A veterenarian who analyzed 7 of the 21 dogs came up with two scenarios. One, the dogs died from heat stroke due to the lack of air conditioning and overcrowding in the room. Or two, which he said was more plausible, the dogs suffocated.

The vet told a deputy, "With so many dogs in the room, it is possible for the dogs to have died of suffocation if the room has no ventilation and is well sealed off from other parts of the house."

Green Acres claims a dog chewed through a wall and an electrical line which caused the air conditioning to go out. Investigators also examined the house's air conditioning unit, electrical system, and even seized a piece of wire.

Detectives say 7 of the 21 dogs necropsied, showed no evidence of electrocution.

The vet says more needs to be done to determine the cause of death. Sheriff Arpaio said a forensic air conditioning air flow and electrical expert was involved.

Blood and tissue samples from 7 dogs were sent off for testing, in part to determine if the dogs were given any drugs.

"I feel sorry for the 23 people that lost their pets, but I think I finally conviced them we're doing everything we can to resolve this matter. I'm sure they support me on that," said Arpaio.

Deputies say, a ledger is expected to show the facility was still taking in dogs, before, during, and after the dogs were reported dead. Arpaio believes the blood test results could be back within a week or so, he declined to say if or when any charges might be filed.
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