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Green Acre Boarding kennel owners Todd and MaLeisa Hughes met before a judge today to await sentencing in relation to animal cruelty and fraud charges against the couple for their parts in the death of 23 dogs in their care, known as the Gilbert 23.
On June 30, the Hughes accepted a plea deal which would, in exchange for their guilty plea, grant them 23 days in jail, 230 hours of community service, and 3 years of probation. Today’s hearing did not quite go their way. In the tearful, day-long hearing, owners of the dogs that died at Green Acre pleaded for a harsher sentence.
After a full day in court, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney, who admitted that she’d had dogs her entire life and views them in the same manner that people view their children, handed down a sentence of 60 days in jail, 230 days of community service – service that will not be performed at an animal shelter or similar venue, and 6 years of supervised probation (2 consecutive probationary terms) that restricts their communication with any of the victims and prohibits the use of alcohol.
Todd Hughes was immediately handcuffed and will serve his sentence beginning today, MaLeisa will begin her jail sentence on January 15, 2017.