Jeff Flake's Dog-Suffocating Son Sues Joe Arpaio; Can We Root For Both Sides To Lose?
Now here's a moral quandary for you: Who are the least loathsome characters in this little drama playing out in Maricopa County, Arizona? Is it Austin and Logan Flake, who were temporarily in charge of a dog-boarding facility last summer when 21 dogs died of heat exhaustion after the air conditioning failed in a shed where the dogs were housed? Probably not! But that would leave as the least loathsome character Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, so ... [BRAINS EXPLODE].
The charges against them were dropped, so now the Flakes are planning to sue Sheriff Joe, who is just generally loathsome, for $8 million in damages, claiming he was Out To Get Them The Whole Time. Austin Flake is the son of Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, but only the worst sort of cynic would dream of thinking that had anything to do with the charges being dropped.
The Flakes' lawyers claim that Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) "constructed a conspiracy" against the Flakes and sought to portray them as neglectful dog killers, when in fact the dogs just sort of died from heat exhaustion in the sort of unfortunate accident that could happen to any twenty dogs when the air conditioning in their tiny shed in Arizona failed. The Flakes, according to the document, suffered "indescribable mental anguish and distress, and irreparable injury to their good names and reputations and future prospects" because of the MCSO's investigation:
The Flakes say they have a case against Arpaio and members of his Animal Crimes Investigation Unit on grounds of malicious prosecution; conspiracy; abuse of process; negligence/gross negligence; defamation; false light invasion of privacy; and intentional and/or negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The Flakes had been left in charge of the Green Acre dog boarding business while the owners, Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, were on vacation; the story got national press attention because of the family connection to the senator, and also because of the Hughes's awful behavior after the dogs died -- they left voicemail messages for several owners of the dead dogs, claiming that the animals had run off into the desert after digging a hole under a fence. You know, stuff happens. The Flakes and the Hugheses were charged with animal cruelty and neglect, but almost all the charges were dropped before the case went to trial -- the defense showed that the AC failed because of a dirty air filter, while the prosecutors had claimed that the AC had been working fine; one count of fraud against the Hugheses remains, presumably because of their attempt to cover up what happened.
The Flakes are claiming that since they were only doing what they'd been told to by the facility's owners -- they put the dogs into the shed for the night with the AC running, just like the owners did -- they should never have been accused of cruelty when the dogs ended up dead, according to the claim filed against Arpaio.
"...The Flakes had no way of predicting that the air conditioning was going to shut down unexpectedly in the middle of the night, apparently due to lack of maintenance on the air filters by the homeowners. They were merely guests in the home, and had no knowledge whatsoever of whether the air filters were being cleaned."
We are neither lawyers nor, thank Crom, dogs boarded in Arizona by idiots, so we aren't sure whether the Flakes have a case here, but we're really pissed at them for putting us in the terrible position of defending Joe Arpaio, who as far as we can tell had what looked like a plausible reason to investigate the case. Mostly we just want to go hug a doggie and never let awful people take care of it, ever.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.