17 Dead Dogs Found in Kennel After Owner Claimed They All Ran Away

Well this is an absolutely horrific tale of things going from awful to dear god why. Last week, several people left their dogs in the care of an Arizona animal boarding home run by Todd Hughes, expecting their dogs to be well looked after. But on Friday, these owners, many of whom were out of town, received a distressing call from Hughes, claiming that their dogs got loose, ran away, and that they were dead.

Soon, dog owners and friends sent out search parties to look for any of the supposedly missing 17 dogs, and their searches came up empty. Turns out, the dogs never escaped from the kennel. According to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, the 17 dogs had all died in a room after the air conditioning was cut off. Via KPHO:

Sheriff's Office spokesman Chris Hegstrom said Hughes wasn't home at the time of this incident. Instead, Hughes had other family members checking on the animals.

"One of the dogs chewed through an air conditioning wire overnight," Hegstrom said. "When the [Hughes family] checked on the dogs the next morning, many were already dead."

Hegstrom said there was a total of 28 dogs in the home. More than half of them died in a hot room.

The death of 17 dogs in such circumstances requires a pretty crazy amount of negligence. But it still was an accident, no matter how horrific it was. Now refusing to take responsibility and lying to the owners—THAT is a completely different situation.

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One has to wonder what was going through Hughes' head as he called up the owners and broke the bad news/LIE. Did he think that the owners would just say, "And so the animals have returned to that whence they came, reunited with a force more powerful than our companionship" and just fucking drop it? Was he planning on pulling a Weekend at Bernie's with a chorus line of 17 deceased dogs? JUST WHY?!

No criminal charges have been filed, though some owners are mulling over the idea of settling in civil court.

But, apparently one dog really did break free, and has yet to be found. Valor, a husky mix, is still on the loose, having escaped a horrific death. I just hope the pup is reunited with its owner soon.

Screenshot via CBS5AZ.