For the first time, we’re hearing from a Glendale man being investigated for animal cruelty after his 6-month-old puppy died after being left outside in the scorching heat.
It happened back in June at an apartment complex near 61st Avenue and Northern.
Neighbors called 911 to report a dog in distress after it was spotted left on a balcony in 113-degree weather.
Adrian Gonzalez, 28, told Glendale police that he left his dog outside on the patio while he, his wife, and two kids left the apartment for a few hours to visit a family member. They returned home a few hours later when they saw reports on the news that his dog was dead on his patio.
"I know we messed up. We messed up hard, and it's really sad for me. I'm paying for it every single minute and hour that I'm seeing my kids crying," Gonzalez told a Glendale police detective, according to audio records ABC15 obtained.
Gonzalez said the chocolate lab mix puppy, named “Rihanna,” was normally kept inside, but left outside in a storage-type room on the balcony at night. He said they normally keep that door open so the puppy could go inside. The day the puppy died, the door was closed.
Regardless, the storage room does not connect to the apartment, and does not have air-conditioning, the detective told Gonzalez, according to the audio interview.
"You have the sun bearing down, and the animal has nowhere to retreat to. It's constantly being exposed to deadly conditions," a Glendale police officer told Gonzalez and his wife at their apartment.
"It was just, I don't think it was animal cruelty, my ignorance of not knowing,” Gonzalez, sobbing, told the officer.
Gonzalez said he’s lived in Arizona for two years, and has never owned a dog before. According to the audio interview, he claimed he did not know how to properly care for a dog in the Arizona heat.
Glendale police have since recommended a felony animal cruelty charge for Gonzalez.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is still reviewing the case.