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A California man has been arrested after being accused of cooking and serving his ex-girlfriend's dog.
Ryan Watenpaugh of Shasta County was arrested last week after his ex-girlfriend called police. She said Watenpaugh had left the severed paws of her missing Pomeranian on her porch after sending her harassing messages, reports the Redding Record Searchlight. Among the messages was one in which Watenpaugh allegedly asked the women "how her dog tasted," according to police.
Though certainly the most bizarre, animal cruelty is just one of the multiple criminal charges Watenpaugh is now facing.
Dog Incident Followed Domestic Violence, Stalking
According to police, Watenpaugh and his girlfriend separated in August. During the breakup, Watenpaugh allegedly assaulted the victim and took her dog. When the two briefly reunited a month later, the woman told police Watenpaugh had cooked her a meal. Shortly after, she received the text asking her "how her dog tasted," which made her believe that the meat Watenpaugh had prepared for the meal was actually her dog, Bear.
After sending a string of text messages regarding further plans for the dog, Watenpaugh allegedly told the victim he would leave the dog's paws on her front porch. Last week, the woman said she saw Watenpaugh leave a bag on her porch. Inside were the dog's paws. After being arrested, Watenpaugh admitted to leaving the paws, but denied having cooked the dog.
Among the charges Watenpaugh is facing: animal cruelty, domestic violence, false imprisonment, and stalking. Police serving a search warrant on Watenpaugh's residence also found an AK-47 rifle and high-capacity magazines.
Under California criminal law, animal cruelty occurs when a person "maliciously and intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal."
In this case, even if Watenpaugh was only bluffing about cooking and serving up the dog, he could still face animal cruelty charges for killing or mutilating the dog. Animal cruelty may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor in California, with the latter being punished by up to three years in county jail and a fine of up to $20,000.
Watenpaugh is currently being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.