The defendants in the Green Acre Kennel dog death case won’t be charged with Animal Cruelty. For now, at least. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says he’s dismissed most of the case without prejudice, which means the charges can be re-filed.

Montgomery says a grand jury did not take into account problems with the kennel’s air conditioner. A report determined that failed A/C contributed to the dogs suffocating in a cramped, sweltering room last June. Montgomery says dismissal of the charges with an option to refile them gives his office the opportunity to confer with investigators and experts to resolve any open questions on what occurred before a decision is made whether to refile Animal Cruelty charges.

Attorney John Schill, who represents the 21 dog owners, calls the news a “setback” but takes heart in the fact the window to refiling the charges is still open. Still, he laments Montgomery’s decision, saying, “ my clients want justice, not delays” especially since they’ve waiting since June for the defendants to be prosecuted.

Fraud charges against Green Acre owners Todd and Maleisha Hughes remain. They are the in-laws of Austin and Logan Flake, the son and daughter-in-law of U.S. Senator Jeff Flake. The Flakes were in substitute care of the dogs while the Hughes were away at the time.

–Barbara Villa