Tragedy at the kennel

, Posted: Mon, June 23 2014 at 1:43 PM, Updated: Mon, June 23 2014 at 4:15 PM

Maricopa County, Ariz. --- (KPNX)  Arizona's Maricopa County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident in which 17 dogs died while in the care of a Gilbert pet-boarding service.

Officials are calling the deaths a "tragic accident" that happened after one of the dogs chewed through a power cord attached to an air-conditioning unit at the Green Acre boarding business.

MCSO said the dogs died of heat exhaustion, though more details are expected to come as the investigation continues.

It appears at least one of the dogs managed to chew or somehow pierce the home's wall and cut cords that run electricity to that portion of the home, which has multiple AC units.

Some dog owners who arrived at the scene Saturday said they were initially told their pets had escaped.

Doug Hart arrived to find his sister's dogs and said he was told the air-conditioning went out at 9 a.m. and that the dogs had run away.

An MCSO deputy uses a wheelbarrow to move dead dogs at Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert.

"My mom and all these people have been driving around looking for their dogs for two hours to find out the dogs are dead in the shed," he said.

Both the dogs he went to pick up had died.

Valerie Collins and her husband weren't allowed inside the property, but she demanded that her dogs' bodies be returned.

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