The son of Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is involved in the deaths of more than a dozen dogs, Fox 10 News reported Sunday night.
Seventeen dogs being held at Green Acre boarding house in Maricopa County, Arizona, were revealed to be dead Saturday morning while under the care of the senator’s son Austin Flake and his wife, sources told the station. The couple had been tasked with managing the facility while the owners were out of town.
“I learned of this tragic accident yesterday,” Jeff Flake said in a statement. “I can't imagine the devastating loss these families are experiencing. My heart goes out to the owners who lost their beloved pets."
The owners allegedly told law enforcement that the facility’s power shut down sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning, according to Fox 10. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office found evidence suggesting that one of the dogs chewed through a wire powering the air-conditioning in the pets’ living quarters.
Owners of the deceased dogs told Fox 10 they were not informed of the deaths until Saturday morning and in some cases were told their pets had run away.
“[Owners were] hoping maybe that their dog had run away only to have to identify a dead dog in a pile of corpses of labs and St. Bernards and goldens and Bernese mountain dogs just piled like meat, rotting," dog owner Valerie Collins told CBS 5.
“So many lies were told, and we just want the truth to come out,” she continued.
The sheriff’s office said the incident is still under investigation.
Last year, Jeff Flake grappled with a scandal involving another son of his, a teenager who posted several homophobic, anti-Semitic and racist comments on his Twitter account, forcing the senator to issue a public apology for his son's actions.