PHOENIX – Prosecutors will move to dismiss without prejudice animal cruelty counts against all four defendants charged with causing the deaths of 21 dogs at the Green Acre dog boarding facility last June. One count of fraud will remain against Jesse and Maleisa Hughes.
“After thoroughly reviewing the records and fairly considering the points raised in recent Defense motions, the theory of the case as initially presented to the Grand Jury did not take into account the possibility that there were issues with an air conditioning unit,” said Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This could impact a Grand Jury’s charging decision and how we might present a case to a trial jury,” added.
On June 21, 2014, more than 20 dead and injured dogs were discovered at Green Acre Dog Boarding near Greenfield and Queen Creek Roads in Gilbert. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation and submitted their findings to the County Attorney’s Office on August 27, 2014. The Grand Jurors of Maricopa County charged Jesse and Maleisa Hughes with 22 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals and one felony count of fraudulent schemes and artifices. Austin and Logan Flake were each charged with 21 felony counts and 7 misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals. All four defendants have pled not guilty to the charges.
“The State will confer with investigators and experts to ensure any open questions about the events that occurred at the Green Acre facility are fully answered before making a decision on re-charging allegations of animal cruelty,” Montgomery said. “Our motion to dismiss the charges without prejudice reflects our ethical and professional duty as prosecutors to review information presented to us by the defense and to assess what impact, if any, it has on our case.”