With the weather cooling to the point of making Arizonans remember why we’re grateful to live here, most of us prefer not to dredge up recollections of the merciless summer heat in the Valley.
But the sweltering 106 degree scorcher of June 20, 2014 is exactly where we need to focus our attention. It is being reported that a Maricopa County Superior Court judge is considering whether another grand jury should take another look at the case of the gruesome heat related deaths of nearly two dozen dogs crammed in a steamy utility room at the Green Acre boarding kennel in Gilbert. County Attorney Bill Montgomery sat on this case for an unconscionably long time.
If a new indictment is issued against vacationing kennel owners Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, what about the actual caretakers Logan and Austin Flake who were entrusted with running the facility and tending the family pets left in their care while Logan’s parents were in Florida?
The foursome was indicted October 16, 2014. From there, a scorecard is needed to keep up with who was charged and who was dropped.
Then as a grandiose 2014 Christmas Eve gesture, Montgomery dropped charges of animal cruelty against all four defendants, leaving a single fraud charge against the Hughes.
A Maricopa County Grand Jury reinstated charges against the Hughes May 6. The Flakes were mysteriously excluded. Politics abounds. Did we mention Austin Flake is the son of Sen. Jeff Flake?
When they returned from their vacation, Todd Hughes initially told the pet owners their dogs had all run away. Later he and his wife MaLeisa claimed the deaths were the result of an accident when a dog chewed through an air-conditioning electrical cord, disabling the unit. The dogs died agonizing deaths, suffocating in the small room where they were left overnight without cooling, food or water. When the dead and dying dogs were discovered the following morning, the Flakes did not call for veterinary assistance, opting instead to hose down the dogs and then callously pile their carcasses in a shed.
The indictments caused Brigham Young University to expel Austin Flake, which allowed him to recast himself and his wife Logan as victims and sue the taxpayers of Maricopa County for $8 million dollars. If this obscene settlement is awarded, it will ease the reentry into the single world for the now divorcing Jr. Flakes.