The Editorial Board of the daily newspaper has opined in unison on House Bill 2242, which seeks to elevate the punishment for “cruel mistreatment” of a domestic animal to a type of felony that can’t be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Examples of such heinous abuse are detailed in the editorial. Few would disagree with the intent of such legislation.
What is odd, however, is that the bill is sponsored by a lone state Representative at the specific request of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
This is the same Bill Montgomery who punted on the deaths of 23 dogs who died agonizing deaths, suffocating in the small, steamy utility room in which they were crammed together without food, water or cool air in the scorching heat of June 21, 2014. The family pets were boarded at Green Acre kennel and left in the care of incompetents Austin Flake, son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, and Austin’s then-wife Logan. The kennel was owned by Logan’s mother and step-father, who were vacationing out-of-state.
After a lengthy and intense investigation —- even consulting with out-of-state experts, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio recommended criminal prosecution on 23 felony animal neglect charges against Todd and MaLeisa Hughes and their daughter and son-n-law Logan and Austin Flake.
When the Flake’s discovered the dead and dying dogs, they did not call a veterinarian. Instead they hosed them down in an effort to cool them and then callously stacked the dead carcasses like cordwood in a storage shed on the property. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a champion of animals, had an Animal Crimes Investigations Unit as part of his office for over a decade. He forwarded charges of animal neglect and cruelty to Montgomery, recommending numerous felony charges in connection with the horrific abuse.
As we wrote in this September 2014 post “Bill Montgomery: Between a Flake and a hard place,” bringing charges against Sen. Jeff Flake’s son, daughter-in-law and her parents, did not fit into Montgomery’s long-range career goals.
Montgomery went mute after his insulting press conference where he noted that the dead dogs “weren’t 23 children,” after all — enraging the pet owners and the community at large.
A Maricopa County Grand Jury indicted both couples. And whaddya know? Montgomery dropped all felony charges against Austin and Logan, now divorced. That left them free to sue Maricopa County taxpayers and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, seeking $8 million to resurrect their formerly pristine reputations, claiming they were targeted by the Sheriff’s office and their characters were ruined by the investigation.
As onetime shirttail relatives of Sen. Jeff Flake, Todd and MaLeisa Hughes were more expendable. They spent 60 days in jail and will serve six years probation.
And HB2242? It appears to be headed to the bill graveyard after dairy, farm and cattle grower lobbyists have stepped up to oppose it. On Legislative site, click “RTS Current Bill Positions,” and plug in HB2242.