All felony and misdemeanor charges dropped against Jeff Flake’s son and daughter-in-law. Single fraud charge remains against her parents
In what is being characterized as a “surprise move,” Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has dropped charges of animal cruelty against all four defendants in the deaths of nearly two dozen dogs at the Green Acre boarding kennel. His equivocal press release is filled with legal double talk in an effort to explain away the unexplainable.
It was clear from the June 20 onset, when the dead and dying dogs were found, Bill Montgomery was loath to touch this case. He dillied and dallied, even after Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s extensive three-month examination of facts which included veterinarian performed necropsies. The sheriff’s office recommended numerous felony charges of animal neglect and cruelty in connection with horrific abuse of the pets. The dogs died agonizing heat-related suffocation deaths after being crammed in a small laundry room overnight without air-conditioning, food or water.
When found in the morning they were hosed down in a crude attempt to cool them, then callously dumped in a shed and stacked like cordwood by the caretakers. No veterinarian was ever summoned.
But these were not just run-of-the-mill folks. Defendants Austin and Logan Flake, the son and daughter-in-law of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, were each charged with 21 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, Logan Flake‘s parents were also charged.
The politically ambitious Bill Montgomery is cunning but still exhibited raw insensitivity to the grieving pet owners as he provided insight as to his bent during a Sept. 10 press conference. “This isn’t to cheapen or minimize the loss of the pets to the families,” Montgomery said. “But we’re not talking about the deaths of 23 children.”
On Oct. 15, a Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted both couples. At the time, Montgomery solemnly stated, “Today’s indictment is the result of a thorough review of the extensive investigation into this incident and a decision to seek charges based on objective facts. We now look forward to the next step in seeing that justice is served in this case,” he said.
Then POOF! In a cloud of smoke capable of concealing dead rabbits in a magician’s top hat (yes, there were also a couple of dead rabbits) the charges magically disappeared. A single count of fraud remains against Todd and MaLeisa Hughes. When the deaths occurred, they were vacationing in Florida, leaving the aptly named Flakes in charge of the pets.
The newspaper, referring to the deaths as a “tragic accident, not a case of intentional cruelty,” prefers to lay blame on their longtime foe, Sheriff Arpaio for having the temerity to recommend charges. Bill Montgomery, who would rather chew on rancid chops than refile this case says, “Our motion to dismiss the charges without prejudice reflects our ethical and professional duty as prosecutors to review information presented to us by the defense and to assess what impact, if any, it has on our case.”
What a load of horse pucky. After reviewing the facts, a Grand Jury found sufficient evidence to indict on multiple charges. But none on the panel have the same political aspirations as Montgomery.
Back in September we prophetically posted “Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place.”
We got it right.