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Gilbert dog-boarding owners 'heartbroken' after death of 17 dogs

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According to Sunday's AZ Central News, the owners of the Gilbert, Ariz., dog boarding facility, where 17 dogs recently died of heat exhaustion, are "heartbroken" about the tragedy.

MaLeisa Hughes, one of the owners, told AZ Central News:

This is truly an accident,"

"We're heartbroken for everybody. The biggest misconception out there is we went two days without doing anything."

The devastated owners of the dogs who perished in a shed at the Green Acre dog boarding facility are searching for answers and begging for justice. Thus far, investigators with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office are calling the dogs' deaths an accident - it appears that one of the dogs chewed through wiring for the building's air-conditioning unit and the dogs fatally overheated when the unit failed.

Before the devastating truth was revealed, some of the individuals, whose dogs were being housed at the facility, were told that their dogs had escaped - not that they had died. Todd Hughes, who owns the facility with his wife, attempted to explain why that happened:

"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 were out of town when the tragedy unfolded - the dogs had been left in the care of the family's adult children. No charges have been filed against the boarding facility owners, but the investigation is still ongoing.

In the meantime, a Facebook page with over 5,000 supporters has been established. 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. A petition demanding a full investigation, and prosecution of the boarding facility owners, currently has over 5,500 signatures.

On Monday morning, My Fox Phoenix revealed that one of the adult children, who had been left in charge of the facility when the Hughes were out of town, is the son of a U.S. Senator. The news agency's sources confirmed that Austin Flake, son of Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, was helping to care for the dogs during the Hughes absence.

On Sunday, the Facebook page indicated that a a memorial service/celebration of life, to honor the dogs who were lost, would be held on Saturday, June 28, 2014.

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