PHOENIX, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Austin Flake, son of U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and his wife have pleaded not guilty to charges involving the deaths of 21 dogs at a kennel.
The Green Acre kennel in Gilbert, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb, was owned by Logan Flake's parents. Todd and MaLeisa Hughes left the Flakes in charge at a time in June when the air conditioning failed.
Both couples have been indicted and charged with multiple counts of animal cruelty.
The Flakes appeared in court Thursday morning and entered not guilty pleas. Their lawyer, Dennis Wilencheck, called the charges "completely unfounded" and said the deaths were a tragic accident.
Investigators said the couple tried to save the dogs by dousing them with water, but they waited hours to seek outside help.
Valerie Collins' two dogs died at the kennel.
"I'm so sickened by them saying it was an accident," she said. "There were still dogs alive for four hours. For four hours they didn't get any help, and then they just let them die slowly."
The Hughes were arraigned Oct. 29. They were in Florida when the dogs died.