Vol. 15 Issue No. 1 | January 7 – 13, 2009

Dog’s death brings attention to danger of uncovered holes

By Curtis Riggs | January 7, 2009

‘Gray Dog’ falls into uncovered perc-test hole

DESERT HILLS – An incident involving a long-time family pet, which took place over the holidays, calls attention to how normal activities can turn tragic when holes and trenches are left uncovered.

The Flickinger family, owners of Tycha’s Beyond the Border in Cave Creek, lost their family dog when he fell into a 20-foot deep hole on a vacant parcel, which was dug for pre-subdivision perc-tests. Gray Dog, a Queens land Healer, the Flickingers had owned for 13 years fell into the hole the week before Christmas when he was walking with Tycha Flickinger. Tycha thought the dog went home ahead of her that day because she was unaware of the dangers posed by four new un-barricaded holes on the property.

Todd Flickinger realized what happened a couple of days after Gray Dog was missed. He was riding his ATV across the five acres at 15th Avenue and Joy Ranch Road when he almost rode the machine into an un-barricaded hole on the property. Soon after he almost ran the ATV into another hole, Todd looked in another of the four recently dug holes and saw the beloved family pet at the bottom. Gray Dog had been unable to climb out of the hole because of its steep sides.

Todd Flickinger is unsure if the dog drowned, was killed by the fall or succumbed to the elements. Drowning could have been the cause of Gray Dog’s death because it rained in the area just before Christmas. The Flickingers were not aware of the perc-test holes because there are other large mounds of dirt on the property and they did not notice the four new holes

“Just to think the dog was there for a week trying to get out,” he said. The family lost their dog to an unavoidable tragedy.

Hamzo Kosorvarsti, who owns Ray’s Pizza locations along Carefree Highway, is splitting the five acres into one-acre parcels and was having each parcel perc-tested for a septic system when the tragedy occurred.

Greg Maupin, project manager for Maricopa County Environmental Services, was puzzled why the perc-test holes were still uncovered as the perc tests were approved on Nov. 12.

“It’s up to the owner to fill the holes in after they receive approval,” Maupin said. “The normal process is to dig the hole, call for inspection and the owner usually fills the hole in within five days.”

Maupin said there is no fine, or violation, for leaving the holes uncovered under Maricopa County rules. He called Kosorvarsti and the contractor who dug the holes, K and D Construction, earlier this week when he was made aware of the tragedy. Workers were out filling in the holes the next day.

While the Flickingers are still devastated by the unexpected death of their family pet, they are happy the perc-test holes are now filled in so children who walk across the property or equestrians who ride their horses there will not fall into them and suffer the same fate as Gray Dog.

“We were all concerned someone else would fall in them,” Todd said.
Attempts to contact Kosorvarsti were unsuccessful.

Photo by Curtis Riggs: “Gray Dog,” a Queens Land Healer owned by the Flickinger family in Desert Hills, died after he fell into a 20-foot perc-test hole in the days before Christmas and was unable to climb out.