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Published: August 02, 2008 03:30 am ShareThisPrintThis
0 Owner says he'd never abuse dog that died in sun
By Jim Patten
Staff Writer

LAWRENCE - The owner of a French bulldog that died from heat exposure after being left on an outside balcony, said he would never abuse the animal for which he paid $2,000.
"I'm distraught. I was crying," Ryan Colon, 21, of 20 Knox St., said during a telephone interview yesterday after his arraignment in Lawrence District Court on animal cruelty charges.
His female French bulldog, Lola, was found dead on the balcony of his Knox Street condominium Wednesday afternoon. Another bulldog, a male named Banks, nearly perished, police said.
"These two are like family members. The one still alive they are going to take so now I'll lose two family members," Colon complained.
He said the dogs had food and water when he put them out there.
"They ate, they drank and they went to the bathroom on the deck. They were not abused. They were not tied up. They were left out there by accident. I didn't mean to leave them out there," Colon said.
Colon paid $2,000 each for them, loved his pets and he said he would never have deliberately left them on a sunbaked balcony.
Lola, the female, was found dead when police were summoned to the condominium by a neighbor about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Banks was found staggering back and forth and frothing from the mouth, police said.
Colon was arrested and charged with cruelty to an animal by a custodian.
Lawrence District Court Judge Thomas Brennan freed Colon without bail and ordered him to return to court Sept. 15.
Colon said he did go to the Police Department contrary to news accounts of a warrant being issued for his arrest.
He said since a sewer backup flooded the first floor of his condominium last week, he has been staying with his girlfriend's family and going over to the condo regularly to care for the dogs, who were staying there on the second floor.
Anne Colon, mother of Ryan, defended her son, saying he was devastated by the loss.
She said the sewage backup contaminated the first floor of the condominium during the heavy rain and flooding last week and he and his pregnant girlfriend and 4-year-old son had been staying with her family.
She said her son was a dog lover who has always taken good care of his pets, and pointed to an urn containing the ashes of his toy rat fox terrier Baby, who died recently of old age.
"He paid to have the dog cremated and bought an urn so the ashes could be kept in his home. That cost him over $500," she said.
She said police Chief John Romero had unfairly portrayed her son.
"He's a good kid and I don't want him portrayed as some sort of idiot that doesn't care for dogs. His dogs were very well taken care of."
She said they received regular veterinary care at the Main Street Animal Hospital in Haverhill.
"He's (Romero) going to ruin a man's life for an honest mistake, leaving a dog on the porch. What good is that going to do? He's the father of two kids. How will he support his family?"
Romero said leaving an animal in those conditions was cruelty and "that is not an honest mistake."
"Those animals were left out there in the baking sun with no food or water. They were neglected to the point where it reached a level of cruelty," Romero said.
He said the second dog was within hours and possibly minutes of dying when the neighbor discovered them.
"If the neighbor had not come by we were probably looking at two dead dogs, not one," Romero said.
Anne Colon said the male French bulldog is being held at the MSPCA shelter in Methuen, and that shelter officials had refused to release the dog to family members.
Ryan's father, Milton Colon, said his son "always took care of those dogs. He always took care of the animals."
If he is convicted, Ryan Colon faces a sentence of up to five years in state prison, or not more than two and a half years in the house of correction and up to a $2,500 fine.
He also could be required to surrender the surviving bulldog to the MSPCA.
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