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Jun 24, 2014 12:29 AM by Rebecca Taylor

AZ dogs killed; how should you choose a pet boarding facility?

TUCSON - Additional dog deaths at a Gilbert boarding house has pet owners furious and demanding answers. Late Monday, the tally of deaths increased from 17 to 20 dogs.

Officials are investigating claims by Green Acres owners that a dog chewed through wires, shutting down the air-conditioning inside. The dogs died over the weekend of apparent heat exhaustion.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said "there are a lot of questions that both this Sheriff and the dog's owners have and believe me, by the time we are done with this investigation; we'll have the answers to most, if not all of the questions."

Arpaio says there will be an immediate and thorough investigation.

Not all boarding services are created equal, the best piece of advice is to schedule a tour. Animal experts warn pet owners to do their research.

Central Pet Tucson prides themselves on being a transparent facility.

As dogs of all breeds and sizes play, cameras capture their every pounce 24 hours a day.

"So pet parents can log in, watch their animals play, eat and make sure everything is as it should be," said Morgan Bojorquez.

She says kennels are well ventilated, air-conditioned and staffed over night.

"If they're not comfortable, we're not comfortable," Bojorquez said.

In the event of power outage, Central Pet Tucson has a second location in Amado.

"All of our kennel techs are trained to look for heat stress and exhaustion, particularly with breeds like Pugs and short nosed breeds that have a harder time cooling off," she says.

Detailed notes are taken for each animal, as some require medication or special diet. There are six play yards for exercise; the grass is even cooled down with water.

Bojorquez says a facility that allows walk-in tours at any time is what pet owners should look for.

"Not just look at the kennel from a window, but actually go back into the kennel," said Bojorquez, "so you're experiencing what your dog is smelling, hearing, seeing."

Once you schedule a tour, according to the Humane Society of the United States look for:

Does the facility look and smell clean?
Is there sufficient ventilation, temperature and light?
Is bedding provided, off the floor?
How often are pets fed?
Can the owner bring special food or medicine?

To read the full check list, click here.

As the circumstances surrounding 20 dog deaths in Gilbert are investigated, Bojorquez describes the loss.

"Really what we'd like to say regarding that, is that it's just really a great loss. And that our hearts are with the pet parents who lost their babies," Bojorquez said.

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