Nearly two dozen dead dogs — and now their owners —- kicked to the curb by ambitious Maricopa County Attorney
In an obviously benevolent mood just days before Christmas, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery dismissed charges of animal cruelty against the caretakers at Green Acre Boarding Facility. It was in the unrelenting swelter of late June when twenty-three dogs suffered horrific, heat-related suffocation deaths at the kennel. The dogs were crammed in a small laundry room overnight without air conditioning, food or water.
Montgomery’s December media release was awash with legal double talk as he struggled to defend the indefensible.
Fast forward to last week when Montgomery, the suddenly publicity-shy county attorney cancelled his scheduled meeting with representatives of the larger group of pet owners and their attorney, John Schill —- reportedly due to media hype surrounding the meeting. Montgomery’s office has yet to release a statement on the abrupt cancellation. The owners were expecting to meet with him to discuss his decision to dismiss the animal cruelty charges against the owners and caretakers of the boarding facility.
But don’t mistake his reticence. It was merely the calm before the storm that he exhibited in a press conference in which he snarled at the families who lost their beloved dogs.
“This is just an effort to further their civil suit and identify deep pockets. I’m not going to contribute to that kind of hysteria,” Montgomery huffed. “They’re parading children in front of cameras with framed pictures of their pets, I don’t see that in gruesome criminal cases.” He added, “If my goal was to pander to a particular group of people, or pander to a particular group of victims, it would be very easy to sit back and let a court tell us what to do,” said Montgomery.
He was no doubt referring to the October 15, 2014 indictment handed down by a Maricopa County Grand Jury.
Keep in mind these were not just run-of-the-mill defendants. Austin and Logan Flake, the son and daughter-in-law of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, were each originally charged with 21 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals —- now all dropped. Only a single count of fraud remains against Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, Logan Flake‘s parents. The Hughes were vacationing and left the incompetent Flake’s in charge of their home-based pet boarding business.
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 at the time. “But we’re not talking about the deaths of 23 children.”
In September we prophetically posted “Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place.” We were right then.
We were correct again when, for the first time since the June 2007 launch of Seeing Red AZ we were moved to use the term, “what a load of horse pucky,” in “Bill Montgomery, dead dogs & the Flakes: We got it right the first time.” In that post we pointed out the negative impact bringing this case to trial would have on Montgomery’s lofty political aspirations. He will deflect and obfuscate, but don’t expect integrity.