PHOENIX – A settlement agreement was entered into today with Jesse Todd Hughes (D.O.B. 9/28/1982) and Maleisa Maurine Hughes (D.O.B. 9/10/1969), owners of the Green Acres Boarding facility in Mesa for the death of 23 dogs left in their care. The pleas were issued following consultation with and agreement by the victims.
The defendants each pled guilty to one count of facilitation to commit fraudulent schemes and artifices, and one count of cruelty to animals, both Class 6 felonies. They will both serve 23 days in jail without the possibility of work release, work furlough, home detention or compliance monitoring. Additional terms stipulate that the defendants:
- shall not acquire any new animals;
- shall not operate or work at any boarding facility for animals;
- shall perform at least 230 hours of community restitution;
- shall not comment, discuss and/or post about this case on social media;
- shall write a letter of apology to be read in court for the victims and the public. Acceptance of plea shall be deferred for Victims’ Rights.
“Nothing can replace the loss these pet owners continue to feel,” said County Attorney Bill Montgomery. “This agreement holds the defendants accountable for criminal conduct resulting in the loss of so many beloved family pets entrusted to them, and ensures they will serve time in jail and provide restitution to the community.”
On June 21, 2014, 23 dead or injured dogs were discovered at Green Acre 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. On October 13, 2014, a Grand Jury charged Jesse and Maleisa Hughes with one count of fraud and multiple counts of animal cruelty. On December 22, 2014, prosecutors announced the dismissal without prejudice of the animal cruelty counts, but left the fraud count. Charges were reinstated on May 6, 2015 after additional evidence was reviewed.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 9, 2016.