GILBERT, AZ (KPHO) – The families of 20 dogs found dead at an Arizona boarding house say they’re devastated. The boarding facility owners initially said that 17 dogs had died.
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said there was a total of 28 dogs in the home.
The Green Acre Dog Kennel homeowner claims a damaged air conditioner led to the deaths.
But that answer isn’t good enough for many of the families who lost their pets.
The owners are searching for the truth.
“These are my dogs,” Valeria Collins said as she shows picture of her dogs.
Collins lost two parts of her family, Carson and Daisy.
“I wanted to keep one of their puppies when they got older so we’d still have a piece of them but we don’t even have that now,” Collins said.
Collins was one of the first to discover the horrible truth, and called the sheriff’s office.
Others were told the dogs ran away. Many of them on vacation, sent family to search.
“Hoping maybe that their dog had run away only to have to identify a dead dog in a pile of corpses of labs and Saint Bernards and goldens and Bernese mountain dogs just just piled like meat… rotting…” Collins said.
“We were going to pick them up on our way home from California and bring them to our new home but now, they’re dead,” Shannon Gillette said.
Gillette called KPHO from California where she’s celebrating her son’s birthday at Disneyland.
“We’re trying to tell them we’re never going to see them again and they don’t understand. They said we can just go pick them up from the hospital and they can’t because they’re dead and they were killed,” Gillette said.
The sheriff’s office believes this was a tragic accident when a dog chewed through wires, shutting down the A/C inside Todd Hughes’ boarding home.
But owners say the lies, the stories, nothing is adding up.
“To know it was such a brutal death, it’s not right and so many lies were told we just want the truth to come out,” Collins said.
No criminal charges have been filed against Hughes or his family.
“Owners claim the air conditioning was cut off after a dog chewed through some electrical wiring,” Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio said. “But it seems unreasonable that dogs could be healthy at 11 at night and dead by 5:30 the next morning as the owners suggest. Even the veterinarian I met with today agrees that the timeline given by the owners and caretakers is highly suspect.”