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Death toll at dog-boarding facility now stands at 20

20 dogs perished at boarding facility
20 dogs perished at boarding facility
Screen shot via USA Today

The death toll at a Gilbert, Ariz., dog-boarding facility has been revised from 17 to 20, following the failure of an air-conditioning unit inside the building where the dogs were housed, reported Monday's My Fox Phoenix News.

Last week, sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning, the temperature inside of the building where the dogs were housed climbed high enough that most of the dogs inside perished. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office is currently working under the belief that one of the dogs managed to chew through a wire which rendered the air-conditioning unit useless.

MaLeisa Hughes, and her husband, Todd, own and operate the Green Acre dog boarding facility; they were in Florida when the tragedy unfolded. The dogs entrusted to the facility's care had been left with the Hughes' adult children, which included Austin Flake, who is the son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

According to USA Today, MCSO Sheriff Joe Arpaio held a press conference on Monday; he has vowed to conduct a thorough investigation to see if there was is any evidence of wrong-doing.

Arpaio stated:

We are going to check phone records. We are going to check air condition meters,"

"We will see if there is any violation of the animal cruelty laws, any criminal intent, neglect."

Devastated owners of the deceased dogs are begging for answers following the tragedy - some of the guardians were initially told that their dogs had escaped from the property, not that their pets had perished from heat exhaustion.

Todd Hughes, one of the owners, attempted to explain why that happened - he stated:

"I wasn't thinking straight, but I should have thought better than that,"

"Nobody trained me on how to handle this. I made a bad decision. It was terrible.

The Hughes have stated that they are "heartbroken" over the tragedy.

Over 9,000 individuals are currently following the Tragedy at Green Acre Dog Boarding Gilbert, AZ Facebook page was set up to demand justice for the families who lost dogs at the facility; according to the page, a celebration of life event will be held on June 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chavez Plaza in downtown Phoenix.

Continue reading: Good Samaritan breaks out car window to save distressed puppy

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