Son and former daughter-in-law skip prosecution, sue for $8 million
Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, the former in-laws of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s son Austin, have accepted a plea deal in conjunction with the June 2014 gruesome heat related suffocation deaths of 23 dogs at their Green Acre dog boarding facility in Gilbert.
On Thursday, the couple took the pleas in lieu of going to trial. As defendants, each pleaded guilty to one count of facilitation to commit fraudulent schemes and artifices, and one count of cruelty to animals, both Class 6 felonies. Their sentences will each include 23 days in jail without the possibility of work release, work furlough, home detention or compliance monitoring. The days to be served equal one day per dead dog.
This raw video of the court proceedings is available from KMOV TV 4, St. Louis. In addition to the jail terms, the Hughes’ must complete 230 hours of community service and serve three years of probation. They are prohibited from posting about the case on social media or resume running a pet boarding facility . Additionally, they are to write letters of apology to all who lost their family pets.
Missing from the news reports is the fact that the Hughes’ were vacationing out-of-state when the deaths occurred, leaving Austin Flake and his-then wife, Logan, who is the daughter of MaLeisa Hughes, responsible for the care of the pets. When the Flakes’ returned to the kennel the next day and witnessed the horrific scene, they callously hosed down the dying dogs in a crude attempt to cool them. The carcasses of the dogs were then piled in a storage shed. No veterinarians were ever called.
The dogs sweltered to death, packed together in a steamy utility room, lacking air-conditioning, and without food or water provided for them.
Todd Hughes lied about the number of dogs involved and claimed they merely ran away. The story was later changed to cast blame on the dogs themselves by alleging one or more of the pets chewed through the air conditioning wiring, which was never the case.
After Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery dropped the 21 felony charges and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals against Austin and Logan Flake, the actual responsible parties, they filed a lawsuit against the taxpayers of Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seeking $8 million to resurrect their formerly pristine reputations. They claim they were targeted by the Sheriff’s office and their characters were ruined by this investigation. Though now divorced, a few $million each could go a long way to soothe their hurt feelings.
These are some of the posts SRAZ has written about the case that was Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s worst nightmare — since charging Jeff Flake’s son and daughter-in-law and her parents never quite fit into his long rage career plans:
Sept. 29, 2014: Still awaiting Montgomery’s Flake decision
Sept. 19, 2014: Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place
Dec. 13, 2014: Flake kin beg for cash to aid in dead dog defense
Nov. 14, 2014: Austin, Logan Flake plead not guilty in dog deaths
Oct. 16, 2014: Indicted! Austin & Logan Flake, Todd & MaLeisa Hughes