- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - The owners of a suburban Phoenix kennel where 21 dogs died of heat exhaustion and four others were injured a year ago have pleaded not guilty to charges of animal cruelty and other crimes.

Prosecutors in January dismissed charges against 32-year-old Jesse Todd Hughes and 45-year-old Maleisa Maurine Hughes, owners of Green Acre Dog Boarding in Gilbert.

However, a new indictment against the couple was issued a month ago following a new review of evidence in the case.

The couple entered their not-guilty pleas Wednesday in Maricopa County Superior Court. Each faces a total of 29 counts of felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty and of felony fraud.

Defense lawyer Robert Jarvis has said the deaths were a tragic and freak accident and that there was no evidence of criminal conduct.

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