Missing dog from Gilbert boarding home found dead - CBS 5 - KPHO

Missing dog from Gilbert boarding home found dead

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Valor survived for nearly two weeks before he was hit by a car. (Courtesy: Heather Wicker) Valor survived for nearly two weeks before he was hit by a car. (Courtesy: Heather Wicker)
Valor, left, and Remington, center (Courtesy: Heather Wicker) Valor, left, and Remington, center (Courtesy: Heather Wicker)
GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

It wasn't the news Heather and Zach Wicker were hoping for, but Saturday morning, the Wickers said they found closure knowing their two-year-old Belgian Malinois, Valor, was found dead.

Valor had been missing for more than two weeks. He was said to have escaped from the Green Acre boarding home where 22 dogs reportedly died, including the Wickers' other dog, Remington.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio provided posse members and a helicopter to assist in a search for Valor last weekend. Arpaio said the discovery of Valor's body on Saturday brought the count to 23 deaths related to the Green Acre incident.

"The dog was hit by a car," Arpaio said. "He was dead for about four or five days."

Heather and Zach Wicker held onto hope that they would find Valor alive but when they heard the news that he was found dead, Heather told CBS 5 it was heartbreaking. 

"I have no more words to describe what has been done to our family," she said. 

Wicker said she mistakenly trusted Green Acre owners, Todd and MaLeisa Hughes, with her two pets and believes the Hughes family should be held accountable for all the animals that died on their watch.

"If I would've had the correct information, I probably would've had one of [my pets]," Wicker said. "Due to so many lies from the Hughes family, I don't have any of them."

Many families were told their dogs had run away from the Green Acre home, but some owners later found their pets did not run away but had died at the Hughes' home. MaLeisa Hughes said her husband "panicked" and lied about what really happened. 

Hughes continues to say the incident was the result of a tragic accident when a dog chewed through a wire that shut off the air conditioner. The Hughes family said the dogs likely died from heat exhaustion. 

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating.

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter. 

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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