Twenty dogs die as boarding kennel overheats in Arizona
PHOENIX, June 23 (Reuters) - Authorities in Arizona were investigating the deaths of 20 dogs in an overheated boarding kennel after one of the canines apparently bit through a power cord, knocking out an air conditioning unit, officials said on Monday.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said no expense would be spared in the probe into the deaths that happened late last week at the facility in Gilbert, a suburb southeast of Phoenix.
"We're going to get to the bottom of this. ... I don't care what it costs," Arpaio told reporters. "There will be no stone unturned."
The Arizona lawman said the timeline of events was not yet clear, but that it was discovered that the air conditioning was off either on Friday or late Thursday.
It was not clear how long the power had been off, he said, but the dogs were in distress and were taken outside and sprayed with water to try to cool them down. Seven were saved, he said, but 20 died at the scene.
The temperature in Phoenix routinely tops 100 Fahrenheit (38 Celsius) in June.
A preliminary investigation found a hole scratched out of the drywall in a boarding area had exposed some electrical wires, part of which looked to be chewed through.
Arpaio said the owners of the facility were in Florida at the time and returned late on Friday. He said some owners of dogs at the kennel were initially told their pets had run away.
"It wasn't true," he said. "Those dogs were dead."
The sheriff said the couple responsible for running the kennel in the owners' absence included Austin Flake, the son of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake.
"I don't care who is involved," Arpaio said. "We get the evidence and we take action and that's what will happen."
Austin Flake, who sheriff's officials said is married to the owners' daughter, could not immediately be reached for comment.
His father released a statement saying he was aware of the incident, but it made no mention of whether or not his son was involved.