Owner of kennel transporting dogs that died en route to El Paso says his heart is broken

POSTED: 06:40 PM MDT Aug 21, 2013    UPDATED: 11:01 AM MST Jan 16, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

The reality show star and owner of the kennel transporting ten dogs who died on their way to El Paso said it was a tragic accident.

The dogs were on their way to El Paso from Denver, Indiana.  Vohne Liche Kennels owned the dogs and was taking them to the Canine Center of El Paso, where Customs and Border Protection was supposed to evaluate and possibly purchase them.

Ten dogs arrived in El Paso already dead, according to Maj. Joe Buccino, a Fort Bliss spokesman. The Canine Center is on post.

Vohne Liche owner, Ken Licklider said the air conditioner in the vehicle carrying the dogs malfunctioned. He said the kennel driver is supposed to check on the dogs during the 22-hour drive.

Licklider said he hadn't spoken with the driver and planned to find out how the malfunction happened.

He said this was the kennel's 11th trip to El Paso. This is the first time a dog has died while Vohne Liche is driving them, said Licklider, who stars in the Nat Geo Wild show called "Alpha Dogs."

The show is about his kennel, where Licklider trains and sells hundreds of dogs to law enforcement agencies. "This is breaking our hearts," said Licklider about the deaths.

A Customs and Border Protection source said dogs have passed an extensive veterinary examination and a selection test before the agency purchases them. The source said while the agency has discovered parasites or minor illnesses in some dogs, nothing like this has been documented.

A CBP source said the cases will be investigated by a local agency.

CBP did not purchase any of the dogs. Three others suffered heat stroke and were treated by a local veterinarian, who released them back to the vendor after one night at the clinic.

Working dogs can cost between $3,000 to $6,000 depending on age and training.