Mass Deaths at Kennel After Dog Cuts AC

17 dogs die of heat exhaustion

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 23, 2014 4:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – A horrifying story out of Arizona, where 17 dogs died at a pet boarding facility after one dog apparently chewed through a wire and disabled the air conditioning in the room where 28 dogs were sleeping. Authorities say employees at Green Acre in Gilbert, Arizona, checked on the dogs at 11pm Thursday, then again at 5:30am Friday—and discovered that many were dead and others were "overheated and unresponsive." They took them outside and sprayed them down with water, but were unable to save them, the Arizona Republic reports. Some of the dog owners say the owners of the Green Acre initially called them Saturday and told them their dogs got loose and ran away. (One dog owner provided a voicemail from the facility owners to Fox 10, in which the caller claims to be out searching for the missing dogs.) Some owners went to the facility or sent friends to search, and only then discovered their dogs were actually dead, KPHO reports. One dog did actually get loose, and owners are still searching for him.

The dogs' bodies were piled in a shed, a sheriff's spokesperson says. An Animal Care and Control spokesperson acknowledges the deaths may "seem a little odd" and "suspicious," and some of the owners agree, pointing out to WPTV that it was just 80 degrees Thursday night; one owner is convinced her dogs died earlier than Thursday and is getting necropsies done. But factors such as room size and ventilation could have played a role, says the ACC spokesperson. The business owners say the dogs sleep in a room attached to the house that is usually kept at 72 degrees, and that they each have their own space. No charges have been filed, though the dog owners are keeping pressure on investigators. The Green Acre owners, who were out of town when the incident occurred, say this was "truly an accident" that also took the life of one of their own dogs, and that the initial, false explanation came from simply not "thinking straight." Says one owner: "The wire was sparking. My whole house could have burned down."

Stock photo
Stock photo   (Shutterstock)
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The wire was sparking. ... My whole house could have burned down and all my children could have died, and then it would have been a tragedy. But because it didn't catch fire, we're dog killers. - MaLeisa Hughes,
one of the business owners

I chose [Green Acre] because they advertised 'no kennel care.' It was supposed to be a home environment where they would be surrounded by kids, like a family, like just a place they would be more comfortable in. - Valerie Collins, whose two dogs died

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