Owners Mourn the Loss of Their Dogs After a Lie Covered Up a Kennel Tragedy

20 Dogs are gone and their owner's are trying to move forward after being led on a rollercoaster of emotions.

Posted: June 24, 2014, 5 a.m. PST

Summer is off to a difficult start for several families in Arizona after a tragic accident and a very misleading phone call, ended in too many best friends lost forever.

 

On Friday, June 20, pet owners received a telephone call from Todd Hughes, owner of Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert, Ariz. telling them their dogs got loose and ran away. Allegedly, Hughes suggested to some owners that it was likely their dog had died, but such an insinuation did not stop many of these families going into search mode.

Golden Retrievers

Sherman and Parker, photo from KPHO.com

Almost immediately, city wide searches were performed looking for the lost dog, but search after search came up dog-less. On Saturday afternoon, the truth was revealed. According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, 20 of the 28 dogs in the boarding house had died Thursday night from heat exhaustion.

"One of the dogs chewed through an air conditioning wire overnight…When the [Hughes family] checked on the dogs the next morning, many were already dead,”  Sheriff’s Office spokesman Chris Hegstrom states in a press release.

At the time of the incident, Hughes and his wife were not at home, and instead had family members checking in on the animals. There was no malicious intent by Hughes, but the phone call implying their dog was lost and possibly still alive is a cruel thing to do.

Detectives in Maricopa County said they believe in the incident was a tragic accident. Pet owners, however, disagree.

Dogs in Birthday hats
Chloe, Happy and Rosie, photo from KPHO.com

Linda Heller, an owner who is vacationing in Florida, told KPHO, "It wasn’t [a tragic accident]. It was an act of negligence, completely.”

This story truly showcases the importance of creating a safe environment for our furry friends. Dog proofing is a must especially in an environment where their may be doggie visitors who aren't accustomed to the house or the rules. Electrical cords can pose a danger to a puppy  or dog who thinks it makes a great chew toy for many reasons. Cords and wires should be fastened tightly against the wall or covered in a protective dog-proof cover.

Koda

Koda, Photo from KPHO.com - Koda

For one owner, Hughes telephone call was not far from the truth. Heather Bennett’s puppy, a dark-haired Husky-mix named Valor really did get away and is still missing. Bennett spent all night Saturday night searching for Valor on horseback.

Valor
Valor, a puppy who is still missing, photo from KPHO.com

At this time, no criminal charges are being filed against Hughes or his family. Some pet owners have suggested that matters will be settled in civil court.

Should Hughes be made responsible for this tragric accident? Let us know what you think in the comments below. 

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Vickie   Louisville, Kentucky

7/1/2014 11:47:28 AM

I agree with another person's comment: this makes me feel sick. The kennel owners are absolutely responsible for the deaths of those beautiful, innocent dogs. It is so frightening to leave your precious dog in a kennel. I have skipped vacations and other events to avoid it. Bless those babies.

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Melian and Tiny   Etna, CA

6/29/2014 11:50:49 PM

This makes me feel so sick.

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JC   Scottsdale, Arizona

6/26/2014 1:58:06 AM

These ignorant people were obviously in this business for the money and cared nothing about the dogs entrusted to their care. 28 dogs at $20 per day is almost $600 per day! The room they were kept in was appalling! Big dogs and little dogs kept loose together, and no evidence of any comforts like blankets, food or water. The tiny water bowl in the photo is pathetic. I can't understand what they were doing with all the money since they obviously did not put it towards their kennel facility. These people need to pay dearly for the suffering of these animals as well as for what they put the owners through. They knowingly lied about everything just to make a buck. It disgusts me. There is simply no excuse. I hope the IRS checks them out as well. May these little souls rest in peace.

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Lisa   Midland, Texas

6/25/2014 12:34:18 AM

I agree with the dogs owners they should be a legal suit. My dog only stays at my veterinarians that way I know she's safe and sound if anything happened to her he be right there to help her. I heard too many bad things about those boarding kennels and she would never stay there if anything ever happened to her there would be heck to pay. lisa kluchonic

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