One member of the Patriots has returned to Arizona, but it’s not a place with pleasant memories from before the season. The Boston Globe has the story of Branch, former Cardinals player, and the death of four of his dogs this summer while supposedly being cared for at a boarding facility.
It’s a sad tale, and one that also implicates the son of a Republican Senator in Arizona. The Branches left their dogs in the care of Green Acre Boarding Facility in Gilbert, Arizona. The owners, in turn, left town and left the dogs in the care of Austin and Logan Flake. 28 dogs were crammed in a 9 foot by 12 foot room, and 23 (including 4 owned by Branch) died.
In August, a grand jury charged the Hugheses with 22 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals, plus one felony count of fraud. The Flakes were charged with 21 felony counts and seven misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals.
The incident has sparked outrage across the Valley, as Maricopa County attorney Bill Montgomery dropped all but the one fraud charge in late December. The official reason was that it is unclear whether the dogs suffocated because of neglect or because of a faulty air conditioning system.
But protestors who demonstrated outside Montgomery’s office believe the decision was politically motivated. Austin Flake, one of the caretakers, is the son of Arizona Republican senator Jeff Flake. Montgomery said he may consider refiling charges, but there are no plans to do so as of now.
Or, you know, possibly because there were 28 dogs stuffed into one standard small child’s bedroom.