A tragic story is sweeping social media today, Tuesday, June 23, after Republican Senator, Jeff Flake, apologized for an incident that left 20 dogs dead of heat exhaustion on his son, Austin Flake's watch.
An incident, that according to Maricopa Sheriff's Office, seems "suspicious".
According to a statement from the office, Flake and his wife were tasked to watch the Green Acres Kennel in Gilbert, Arizona while the owners, Jesse and MaLeisa Hughes, were out of town.
At some point during the middle of the night on Thursday, June 19, while Flake and his wife were asleep in the separately air conditioned east end of the Green Acres estate, one of the dogs allegedly chewed through an electrical cord attached to the proprietary AC unit of the kennel in the west wing of the compound, causing the unit to shutdown and exposing the dogs to the searing hot summer temperatures in Arizona.
When Flake went to check on the dogs early the next morning, he found the broken wire still flickering with electricity and dozens of dogs dying of heat exhaustion. Flake reported that he then tried to save the dogs' lives with cold water and ice, but it was too late for most of them.
The owners of Green Acres insisted, when asked by reporters, that the incident was simply a tragic accident and one that could not have been prevented. However, the Mericopa Sheriff's Office is investigating some parts of the story they feel don't add up.
For one, while Flake asserted he tried to save the dogs with ice and water, he reportedly failed to call for emergency assistance until after the dogs were dead and stacked on top of each other in a shed.
Additionally, Mericopa Sheriff, Joe Arpaio, admitted that he had his doubts about the timeline of the incident. Specifically, that the dogs would succumb to heat exhaustion in such a short period of time.
"It seems unreasonable that dogs could be healthy at 11:00 p.m. at night and dead by 5:30 a.m. the next morning as the owners suggest," Arpaio said in a statement.
Arpaio's doubts were reportedly confirmed by a veterinarian he spoke with on the incident as well.
Finally, Arapio reported that pet owners who had dogs staying at Green Acres reported to him that they were lied to about just how many dogs were staying at the kennel, and that kennel owners had initially told the pet owners that dogs were missing, not dead.
Currently, no charges have been brought up against the owners or Flake; however, the investigation is still ongoing.