An ongoing investigation is underway after more than 20 dogs died at a Gilbert boarding facility .
In a Monday press conference, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio confirmed 21 dogs died after air conditioning at the East Valley facility was cut off when one of the dogs chewed through a wire. Initial reports indicated 17 dogs were killed.
Arpaio said it appears that there were 28 dogs at the Green Acre pet boarding business, located near Val Vista and Queen Creek roads, but some survived.
"We all love dogs. This is an unfortunate situation that occurred," Arpaio said.
According to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, sometime between late Thursday night and early Friday morning one of the animals chewed through drywall and an electrical cord, taking out power to the area where the dogs were housed, cutting off the air conditioning.
MCSO is conducting a thorough investigation of the incident.
Authorities said they are unsure of the timeline of events, considering that the animals were OK in the late morning and dead in the afternoon.
Interviews are being conducted with caretakers, witnesses, owners and others to determine exactly what happened.
Arpaio has acknowledged that the facility owners initially lied about the incident, claiming that the dogs had run away.
Air conditioning meters, call records and possible past complaints will be investigated to determine whether animal cruelty or neglect was a factor.
Necropsies are being performed on several of the dogs to hopefully confirm the cause of death.
"I think you know my record...We get the evidence and we take action," Arpaio said about animal cruelty cases.
It is unsure at this time what, if any, civil or criminal charges will be filed.
Arpaio said no permits are needed to run boarding facility businesses of this kind. He wants further action to b