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Vigil held for dogs that died in Gilbert boarding facility

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A candlelight vigil was held in Gilbert Saturday night. (Source: CBS 5 News) A candlelight vigil was held in Gilbert Saturday night. (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
GILBERT, AZ (CBS5) -

It's a story that shocked the Valley and angered animal lovers across the country.

On Saturday night a candlelight vigil was held in Gilbert to remember the more than 20 dogs found dead in the Green Acre boarding facility three weeks ago.

About 300 people attended the vigil, many wearing purple and holding candles.

Several families who lost their pets at Green Acre were also there and were touched by all of the support.

"It's really tough being back here next door to Green Acre where we last saw our dogs and to think that this was where they died," said Shannon Gillette whose two Golden Retrievers died while allegedly in the care of Green Acre owners Maleisa and Todd Hughes. "This is just so amazing to see the community supporting us. We couldn't get through this without them."

The vigil started around 7:30 p.m. with a half-mile walk to the memorial, which is set up on the property of the Hughes' next door neighbor.

A special dog house was also unveiled to honor the lost pets.

Those who came to support the families said they want to keep the focus on the tragedy at Green Acre and help see that justice is served.

Sheriff Joe Arpaio and several deputies also attended the vigil.

He assured everyone his investigators will get to the bottom of what happened to the 23 dogs.

"It's sad, emotional," said Arpaio who served a search warrant to the Hughes last Wednesday and removed evidence from the Green Acre property which also serves as their home.

"People want something done," Arpaio said. "They want justice. They don't want to hang anybody. They just want to know the truth. But, we have to get the evidence. You can't just act on emotion. But I did promise all of them, and I think they will probably take my word, that we're going to pursue this to the end."

Saturday night's vigil wrapped up around 8:30 p.m. and was peaceful and respectful.

The owners of Green Acre are reportedly out of town so there wasn't any interaction with them.

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

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